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Brookings groups to create digital health info network

Posted: Friday, Oct 21st, 2011

• Health care organizations win $900K federal grant

Three Brookings health care organizations have received a $900,000 federal grant to develop an electronic community health information network, it was announced this week by the Brookings Health System.

A program developed by Brookings Health, Avera Medical Group Brookings and United Retirement Center Avera will be among 40 new rural health networks to be established throughout the country.

The Brookings participants will receive a $300,000-a-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the next three years.

The grant funding is part of an $11.9 million pilot program developed by the President’s Rural Health Initiative and the HHS secretary’s Rural Health Information Technology Taskforce. The money is to be used to purchase equipment, install broadband networks and provide training for staff.

Creating a network

The three Brookings organizations will use the federal money to establish a community health information network. The new network will allow the three entities to quickly and accurately share patient information via Electronic Health Records (EHR), providing a better continuity of care for patients.

EHR systems digitize patients’ records, creating a complete set of patient information on computers and directly at care providers’ fingertips. Computerized physician order entry, one component of EHR, increases patient safety by listing instructions for physicians to follow when they prescribe drugs to patients.

Brookings Health System has been a leader in converting to computerized medical records, and Avera Medical Group Brookings in currently making the transition to digitized records. The computerizationprocess is under way at URC as well.

The grant also helps the Brookings providers qualify for Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive payments, administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Brookings Health System includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed Brookview Manor nursing home, and Brookhaven Estates apartments. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility.

Avera Medical Group Brookings is a multi-specialty medical group with 27 board-certified physicians and providers.

The United Retirement Center Avera includes a 79-bed nursing home, congregate living center known as Park Place Apartments, and Park Place Assisted Living.

– From staff reports and Brookings Health System

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