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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Information Technology

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What Infrastructure Changes May I Need to Make?

You may need to purchase or upgrade your hardware, desktop terminals and other devices necessary to support your health IT system.  Also, you will need to be sure that your system meets current security and data standards (such as HIPAA, HL7).  Sharing and exchanging data with others, including pharmacies, laboratories, and other providers and vendors, will require considerable broadband connectivity and you may need to upgrade your practices’ connectivity capacity.  

Also, if you are planning to participate in the EHR Incentive Program, you will need to purchase or upgrade your EHR to one that meets the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s (ONC’s) requirements.  An EHR that has been certified will be capable of meeting Stage 1 (2011 and 2012) Meaningful Use requirements.  Stage 1 requirements focus on electronically capturing health information in a coded format, using that information to track key clinical conditions, communicating that information for care coordination purposes, and initiating the reporting of clinical quality measures and public health information.  EHR products that have been certified are listed on ONC’s website.  This list includes the name of product, its vendor, and the product version number.  The vendors of these products will help you to determine infrastructure changes you will need to effectively implement their EHR systems.  The Regional Extension Center in your geographical area can also help you to determine the infrastructure necessary to implement your health IT system.  

Related Resources:

Health IT Adoption Toolbox: Technology Assessment – HRSA toolbox with information and resources on how to plan a technology assessment and the infrastructure changes that may be needed.  
California Community Clinics EHR Assessment and Readiness go to exit disclaimer– This is a Starter Assessment for community clinics considering EHR implementation.  
Certified Health IT Product List – The listing Certified Health IT Product that have been tested and are deemed as meeting the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC’s) criteria for a certified EHR.  
Regional Extension Centers – Information on the 62 ONC-funded Regional Extension Centers that provide training and support services to assist providers in adopting EHRs and offer information and guidance to help with EHR implementation.  

Developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration as a resource for health centers and other safety net and ambulatory care providers who are seeking to implement health IT.
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