Chicago Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center


Welcome to CHITREC.

Please take some time to learn more about our current programs and services. We look forward to assisting you in improving your practice using electronic health records.

CHITREC is here to help.

Welcome to the Chicago Health Information Technology Resource Extension Center — sounds like a mouthful, but feel free to call us CHITREC (say it like “shy trek”). We have been designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as Chicago’s source for assistance, guidance and information on best practices to support health care providers in the adoption and “Meaningful Use” of electronic health records (EHRs). We are one of 62 regional centers around the nation helping doctors like you as part of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) signed into law in 2009. Our vision is to help Chicago become a leader in the development and advanced use of health information technology.

Click here to watch a YouTube video from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) explaining the mission of Regional Extension Centers like CHITREC.
So what do we do exactly? As the Regional Extension Center for the city of Chicago, CHITREC has received $8.2 million in grant funds to support 1,486 eligible primary care providers as they adopt, implement and achieve Meaningful Use of EHRs by April 2014. You may have heard about Medicare/Medicaid EHR incentive programs offering up to $63,750 per provider. Under the law, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), in concert with the ONC, have created these programs to define Meaningful Use of EHRs and create a mechanism for distributing incentive payments to successful participants.
As meaningful users of EHRs, health care providers may be eligible for up to $63,750 over six years through Medicaid and up to $44,000 over five years through Medicare (view our summary guide to see the breakdown of incentive payments). These amounts were based on available data on total cost of EHR ownership for a private practitioner, and are designed to offset the average 5-6 year cost of EHR adoption and implementation for a single provider.


Currently, CHITREC is focusing on providing resources to priority primary care providers who are willing to put in the work to implement an EHR and comply with state/federal standards to receive these incentives.
Priority primary care providers include physicians (Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Obstetrics/Gynecology) and other health care professionals (Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, Certified Nurse-Midwives) with prescribing privileges in small group practices (10 or fewer providers); public and critical access hospitals; community health; and other ambulatory settings that predominantly serve uninsured, underinsured and medically underserved populations.

Use the tool on this page to help determine if you qualify. If you're unsure, contact us and CHITREC staff is available to work with providers to determine eligibility. It may be that you qualify for the federal incentives but not the current CHITREC program.

In the long run, we plan to offer services to all Chicago doctors, including sub-specialists, who want assistance with improvements to their practice using an EHR. Doctors who don’t currently qualify for these incentives should still contact us to be sure. Even if you don’t currently qualify, we are happy to keep you connected so that you are informed about future programs and expanding CHITREC services.


CHITREC is a guide to Meaningful Use.

Services offered by CHITREC revolve around this term “Meaningful Use,” a buzzword you may have heard around the water cooler — and several times on this page. Meaningful Use refers to adopting and implementing certified EHR technology to maintain patients’ health information and then using it in ways that can be measured significantly in quality and quantity. Our Meaningful Use page on some categories of ways doctors can use an EHR to improve patient care.
CHITREC will support clients through:

  • Qualifying and registering for the incentive payments through Medicare/Medicaid. 
  • Project management and implementation.
  • Preferred pricing on various vendor services.
  • Continued support after EHR go-live.
  • Gap analysis and ongoing meaningful use support.

We provide services to doctors regardless of where they are starting the process:

What we are not: CHITREC is not an EHR company or affiliated with any particular product. This is a non-profit and vendor neutral organization.
At CHITREC, we aim to put tools, education and financial resources in your hands when you are ready to take this important step.  Our services include:

  • EHR vendor selection
  • Technical assistance
  • Project management
  • Practice and workflow redesign
  • Privacy/security planning
  • Education and outreach
  • Meaningful use achievement

We implore you not to travel this road alone. At CHITREC, we seek to bring together resources and create a focal point of expertise that will enlighten providers, deliver results, and build the sustainable foundation for achieving meaningful use of health IT. CHITREC builds upon the academic health information technology insights, resources and experience at Northwestern University, coupled with the pragmatic and nationally recognized EHR implementation service delivery model successfully developed at the Alliance of Chicago Community Health Services, a Health Resources and Services Administration funded Safety Net Health Center. Additionally, CHITREC has assembled a team of local and national partners, with the collective resources, technical knowledge and experience to assure a rapid and successful startup of the Center.


CHITREC is ready to get you started.

When you connect with CHITREC, here is what will happen:
Knowledgeable staff can answer any remaining questions you have about CHITREC and the federal incentives programs. If you are ready to enroll and take advantage of the services that they have to offer with EHR adoption and achieving Meaningful Use, click here to view and print a CHITREC letter of participation for grant eligible professionals. We can also fax you this letter or come out to your practice.

This is a non-binding letter of participation that states you are committed to achieving meaningful use. This will reserve your spot as one of the 1,486 doctors to participate in the federal program through CHITREC. Spots are filling quickly, so don’t hesitate.

Once you have reserved a place in the program, CHITREC will schedule a time to meet with you and assess the specific needs of your practice. A representative will help you develop a project plan and identify how CHITREC can support your efforts through our grant resources.  Should you choose to move forward, the CHITREC “Instructional Service Agreement” is a formal contract that commits you to an $850/provider fee in return for educational services with our staff and $2200/provider in reimbursements to offset Meaningful Use-related expenses paid to third parties.  Once you have achieved Meaningful Use and received both CMS incentive payments and CHITREC reimbursements, the service agreement will be completed.  If you wish to continue working with CHITREC at this time, our services may be available on a fee-for-service or membership basis.
For more information, please contact CHITREC by phone at 312-503-2986 or email us at [email protected].