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Frequently Asked Questions About Meaningful Use: Health Information Exchange/Regional Extension Centers

  1. How are regional extension centers (RECs) funded?
  2. Are RECs a resource for the registry?
  3. Do RECs know which EHR vendors are in my state?
  4. How are HIEs funded?
  5. The Cancer Implementation Guide has a lot of required data elements. HIEs may not collect as much information. What is their role?
  6. Must a state cancer registry use the state’s HIE?
  7. Has any HIE enabled use of Web Plus? Could the HIE act as a broker or an application programming interface for it?
  1. How are regional extension centers (RECs) funded?

RECs currently receive funding from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). RECs are expected to become sustainable and more independent over time.

  1. Are RECs a resource for the registry?

Yes. RECs can help state cancer registries educate eligible professionals (EPs) on meaningful use (MU), identify certified electronic health record (EHR) software for EPs to use for cancer reporting, and work with the health information exchange (HIE) to identify the best infrastructure to support cancer reporting from EPs within the state.

RECs offer a full range of services, including—

  • Helping providers meet functional interoperability requirements.
  • Providing EHR training to providers and staff.
  • Assessing providers’ information technology (IT) needs and helping select vendors and negotiate contracts.
  • Sharing best practices to select, implement, and meaningfully use EHRs.
  • Implementing best practices to protect patient information.
  • Helping practices improve daily operations through workflow design.
  • Helping providers achieve MU objectives.
  • Providing EHR project management support.
  1. Do RECs know which EHR vendors are in my state?

Most likely, your REC has a list of EHR vendors in your state. Check the REC Web site or request a list from them.

  1. How are HIEs funded?

HIEs receive funds every 6 months from the ONC.

  1. The Cancer Implementation Guide has a lot of required data elements. HIEs may not collect as much information. What is their role?

HIEs should be able to provide transport functionality as a pass-through between the provider and the state cancer registry, regardless of the data elements required. This role can provide significant help to the state cancer registry, which would require only a single interface with the HIE rather than interfacing directly with every provider’s EHR that submits data. More advanced HIEs may be able to perform other activities that involve interaction with the data if they meet the requirements in the Implementation Guide for Ambulatory Healthcare Provider Reporting to Central Cancer Registries [PDF-1.9MB] (commonly called the Cancer Implementation Guide). For example, the provider could send all of the information to the HIE, and the HIE could create the Health Level Seven (HL7) Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) document to send to the state cancer registry.

  1. Must a state cancer registry use the state’s HIE?

HIEs can provide significant benefit, and we encourage states to pursue partnering with them. However, states are not required to work with HIEs.

  1. Has any HIE enabled use of Web Plus? Could the HIE act as a broker or an application programming interface for it?

No, not to our knowledge. HIEs typically have their own processes, so Web Plus probably would not be helpful to them.

 
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