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AHRQ awards over $22.3 million in health information technology implementation grants

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has awarded more than $22.3 million to 16 grantees to implement health information technology (health IT) systems to improve the safety and quality of health care. These projects will contribute to AHRQ's capacity to learn from health IT implementation in clinical settings and to use the results from these real-world laboratories that are crucial to moving forward with broader implementation of health IT in American health care.

The recipients were selected from a group of AHRQ grantees who received health IT planning funds in 2004. This additional funding will allow them to carry out the plans they developed in their earlier grants. Eleven of the 16 grants were awarded to small and rural communities—areas of special emphasis for AHRQ's health IT initiative.

The newly funded implementation projects will focus on using health IT to share health information between providers, laboratories, pharmacies, and patients and help to ensure safer patient transitions between health care settings, as well as to reduce medication errors and duplicative and unnecessary testing. For example:

  • At Franklin Foundation Hospital in coastal Louisiana, where health care providers are still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, safety net health care providers will integrate health information and communications systems to support chronic disease management, improve patient safety, and eliminate duplication of effort.
  • The University of Tennessee and its partners will develop an integrated electronic health record for children with special health care needs to improve the coordination of services, continuity of care, timeliness of follow-up services, and patient tracking.
  • The Holomua project in Hawaii will implement a health IT system to improve the flow of information among patients, community health centers, and hospitals serving ethnic minorities, immigrants, and other vulnerable populations during transitions of care between primary and tertiary care facilities.
  • Chadron Community Hospital in Nebraska will implement a regional health information exchange within an established collaborative of rural hospitals, clinics, and providers across a 14,000-square-mile remote area of Nebraska.

These awards join 40 implementation grant recipients announced in 2004. With these 16 awards, AHRQ's investment in health IT totals more than $166 million.

Select for a complete list of the 2005 Health IT implementation grant recipients.

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