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

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How do I determine if I should develop a Health Center Controlled Network or join an existing Health Center Controlled Network?

There are many factors to consider before deciding to develop or join an existing Health Center Controlled Network (HCCN). First, an assessment of the health centers readiness to engage in collaboration with other organizations should be conducted. This will provide an understanding of the goals and objectives for forming or being a part of an existing network. It will also help a health center to understand its potential role within this collaborative effort. Based on the findings of this assessment, the health center can then make a decision as to whether creating or joining an HCCN is in its best interest.

However, developing a network can be a large undertaking that requires both an upfront and ongoing investment of resources. Prior experience in implementation of large projects, especially those that involved other centers, can be particularly useful in creating an HCCN. Consider the following key points when joining or establishing a network:

  • Networks require commitment
  • Networks require financial investment
  • Network require involvement of legal counsel
  • Networks may not save money in the short term
  • Communication is key
  • Network staff should have Health Center experience
  • Challenges are learning experiences
  • Incremental success is still success
  • Forming a Network will not solve all problems and issues


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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