UNC-led program helps doctors, health-care centers adopt electronic health records

More than 1,500 primary health-care providers around the state are adopting electronic health records and other technology with the help of the N.C. Area Health Education Centers Program.

UNC-led program helps doctors, health-care centers adopt electronic health records click to enlarge Thomas J. Bacon, Dr.P.H.

Last year, the program, headquartered at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, was awarded a $13.6 million grant as part of national federal initiative to improve health care quality and efficiency. The award established a health information technology regional extension center.

To date, more than 17,000 primary-care providers have enrolled with 62 such centers around the country to receive technical assistance to implement and use electronic health records. More than 1,500 of those providers are from North Carolina. Most  are affiliated with small private practices (35 percent) or community health centers (30 percent), with many specializing in family practice or internal medicine.

“Primary-care providers, who are really the cornerstone of health care in this country, are presented with unique and complex challenges when it comes to implementing electronic health records,” said Tom Bacon, Dr.P.H., executive associate dean at the UNC School of Medicine, and director of the NC Area Health Education Centers program. “We share the same goal with our provider partners – to ensure the highest quality of care for patients and to optimize overall productivity and quality of work-life balance for providers and their staffs.”

The health information technology regional extension center is directed by Ann Lefebvre, the program’s associate director of statewide quality improvement. Sam Cykert, M.D., the program’s associate director for medical education, is the extension center’s clinical director. More than 40 staff members around the state are serving providers that have enrolled with the center. This story was originally published here.

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