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Press Release Date: February 13, 2006
HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) today launched a new suite of "learning resources" designed to help health care providers adopt health information technologies quickly and effectively.
The step represents a new phase for the AHRQ National Resource Center on Health Information Technology, as the Agency acts rapidly to convey the lessons learned through AHRQ-funded projects and other sources. The new resources are at the center's Web site: http://www.healthit.ahrq.gov.
"The goal is simple—help health care providers at the ground level learn from each other's real-world experience and give them easy access to the best information available," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "For providers, especially those in smaller practices, adoption of health IT can be challenging on many levels. Adoption of health IT will be too slow if providers have to reinvent the wheel one by one. This shared learning tool brings the lessons of experience together in one place, so we can help providers avoid problems and achieve greater benefits when they make their move to health IT."
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt has made advancing Health Information Technology a major initiative in support of President Bush's charge to use electronic health records and information to control costs and reduce medical errors. AHRQ's new resource center is a critical component of that effort and a key part of HHS' overall Health IT Web presence at http://hhs.gov/healthinformationtechnology/.
AHRQ's $166 million health IT initiative funds more than 100 projects throughout the nation, in settings ranging from large health plans and hospitals to small practices, including rural and inner city communities. As leaders of these projects plan and implement various health IT products, they provide a clinic-level window on the pitfalls and opportunities that others will face. AHRQ will synthesize these experiences to create useful findings and tools. The projects also will measure actual benefits from AHRQ's health IT projects, providing evidence for the business case for health IT adoption.
The resource center site provides emerging lessons from the field; a knowledge library with links to more than 5,000 health IT information resources; an evaluation toolkit to help those implementing health IT projects; a summary of key topics; plus other resources pointing to current health IT activities, funding opportunities, and other information.
Dr. Clancy emphasized that AHRQ is moving early to create the Web-based learning structure. In the first year of the AHRQ projects, the resource center site has served as an internal communication tool serving participants in the AHRQ initiative and other involved agencies. Rather than wait for finished findings, AHRQ is creating the public resource now to capture lessons learned as they emerge.
"This is a learn-as-you-go project," Dr. Clancy said. "The President and HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt have made health IT adoption an urgent priority. We're not waiting for perfect information. We'll make good information available as we learn it."
For more information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs: (301) 427-1241 or (301) 427-1855.