December 2, 2009 By News Report
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is dedicating a total of $220 million in grants to support test cases for health-care IT and data exchange within 15 communities, the department announced Wednesday, Dec. 2.
The initiative, called the Beacon Community Cooperative Agreement Program, will build infrastructure for health IT, and will implement privacy and security measures for the health-care information that is exchanged, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Dr. David Blumenthal, the department's national coordinator for health IT, jointly announced in a press release.
The participating communities have not yet been named. Cooperative agreements will be awarded to 15 nonprofit or government entities chosen to reflect geographic diversity, according to the HHS.
"The Beacon Community Program will help provide more hard evidence that health IT exchange can make a significant and positive difference in the delivery and value of care," Blumenthal said in a statement.
According to the HHS, for eligibility the participating entities will have to:
More information will be posted about the Beacon Communities. Applications are due Feb. 1, 2010.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.