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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 Federal Initiatives Are Underway to Support Health IT for Ryan White Providers?

HRSA recently announced $2.4 million in funding go to exit disclaimer for EHR hardware and software to facilitate the reporting of client level data to HHS. EHRs that are certified under the EHR Incentive Program can assist in this reporting. HRSA has provided funds for grantees to modify health IT systems to best meet the needs of HIV/AIDS patients through the Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) program, discussed below.

Other Federal initiatives that support EHR adoption and use more broadly include the EHR Incentive Program to promote meaningful use of EHRs and the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI).  Provider eligibility for the EHR Incentive Program (“Meaningful Use”) and how this program is expected to improve HIV/AIDS patient care is discussed later in this module.

HRSA Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS). HRSA has led an effort to leverage health IT for people living with HIV/AIDS in underserved communities through its SPNS program. Under the demonstration project, “Enhancement and Evaluation of Existing Health Information Electronic Network Systems for PLWHA in Underserved Communities,” HRSA funded six grantees to modify their existing health IT to better address the unique needs of the HIV/AIDS community. HRSA funded the University of California at San Francisco to serve as the demonstration’s Evaluation and Support Center.

The SPNS program website offers background information, an overview of the six grantees’ projects, and references to related journal articles. For additional information regarding the SPNS program, visit the 2007 testimony by Cheryl Austein Casnoff on behalf of HRSA before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on the Importance of Health Information Technology in Underserved Communities.

CAREWare. HRSA has a history of supporting health IT use among Ryan White Program providers. The CAREWare reporting software can be used in conjunction with EHRs and other health IT tools. It has been in use since 2000 and can be adapted to import data from EHRs. Among networked providers, it serves as a central data repository. The tool also offers reporting features for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Annual Data Report (RDR) and Services Report (RSR).

The CAREWare website provides an overview of the software’s capabilities and suggests resources for CAREWare users. This website offers the software itself, as well as updates, supporting documentation, and additional resources.

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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