Missouri Emerges As National Leader in Move to Electronic Health Records

The Missouri Health Information Technology (MO HIT) Assistance Center is the fifth center of its kind in the country to reach a milestone for increasing use of electronic health records. By enrolling nearly 1,200 primary health care providers across the state in the past year, Missouri’s center has joined its counterparts in Massachusetts, Mississippi, Maryland and South Carolina in becoming one of the first to reach its enrollment goal.

The MO HIT Assistance Center was established at the University of Missouri School of Medicine with $6.8 million in federal funding. It is one of 62 such centers created in 2010 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to make the transition to electronic health records faster and easier for health care providers.

“By rapidly embracing electronic health records, Missouri providers are improving the quality, safety and efficiency of patient care across our state,” said Lanis Hicks, PhD, who leads the assistance center and Department of Health Management and Informatics at the MU School of Medicine.

The MO HIT Assistance Center brings together leading health care and information technology experts to provide clinicians with technical assistance, guidance and information on best practices for using electronic health records. The center will continue to enroll and assist providers across Missouri, with an emphasis on helping providers who serve uninsured, underinsured, and medically underserved populations.

The center also helps primary care providers achieve “meaningful use,” a set of criteria for electronic health records defined by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The criteria encourage providers to electronically capture health information, use the information to track key clinical conditions, communicate the information among providers to better coordinate patient care, and report clinical quality measures and public health data.

The MO HIT Assistance Center partners at MU include the Department of Health Management and Informatics, which is ranked fifth nationally for its physician education program; the Center for Health Policy, which serves as a statewide resource for analysis, education and communication about trends in health care; and the Missouri Telehealth Network. One of the nation’s first and largest telehealth networks, MU’s network has more than 200 telecommunication sites in more than 50 counties. The MO HIT Assistance Center’s collaborative partners include the Kansas City Quality Improvement Consortium, Missouri Primary Care Association, Primaris, the state’s federally designated health care quality improvement organization, and the Hospital Industry Data Institute, a subsidiary of the Missouri Hospital Association.

Health care providers may visit, contact, or call 1-877-882-9933 for information on Medicaid and Medicare EHR incentive programs and EHR adoption, as well as to learn more about how the MO HIT Assistance Center helps health care providers adopt and achieve meaningful use of EHRs.