266567 Impact of Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center: A Statewide Survey of South Carolina

Monday, October 29, 2012

Grishma Patel Bhavsar, MPH , Department of Health Services Policy and Management, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Amy B. Martin, DrPH , Department of Health Services Policy and Management, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Kevin Bennett, PhD , Family & Preventive Medicine, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia, SC
J. Todd Thornburg, PhD , Health Sciences South Carolina, Center for Information Technology Implementation Assistance South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Background. Authorized within the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) launched a regional extension center program (REC) to provide technical assistance to implement electronic medical records for physician practices. Objective. This analysis reveals the impact of the South Carolina Regional Extension Center, Center for Information Technology Implementation Assistance (CITIA-SC) on physician practices engaged in the process of electronic medical record (EMR) adoption.

Methods. A cross-sectional survey (n=426 practices representing 1,066 individual practice sites) was conducted to determine the degree of EMR adoption throughout the state. This data was used to perform a bivariate analysis that compared respondents based on CITIA-SC participation to determine differences among participants and non-participants.

Results. Practices that participated in CITIA-SC compared to those that did not participate reported fewer IT personnel on staff (p=0.0358), were considering EMR implementation without a plan (p=0.0125), were preparing for an EMR purchase using CMS incentives (p=0.0005), perceived EMR implementation to be a minor financial burden (p=0.0463) and perceived the adoption of an EMR as a potential long term increase in productivity (p=0.0440). Despite facing similar barriers to EMR adoption as non-participants, more practices participating in the CITIA-SC program were preparing to invest in an EMR system within one or two years (86.2%).

Conclusions. The impact of education regarding EMR policy and implementation expectations may lead to better purchasing decisions and expectations on productivity change, financial burden, expedited EMR functionality and potential funding opportunities by CITIA-SC participating practices. The positive impact the CITIA-SC program has had on practices in South Carolina may be an indication of the influence of RECs throughout the nation.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1.Identify the electronic medical record implementation differences among participants in the South Carolina regional extension center and non-participants. 2.Assess the potential positive impact of regional extension centers on the implementation of electronic medical records. 3.Describe the policy- and implementation-related educational role of regional extension centers.

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, Health Information Systems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked as a research associate on several projects focusing on health information technology and electronic medical records. Throughout my academic career as a student, I have worked heavily on electronic medical record related projects throughout South Carolina.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.