Grants aim to boost Massachusetts HIE

May 24, 2013 in Medical Technology

The Massachusetts eHealth Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative has launched a $1.5 million Mass HIway Vendor Interface Grant Program. The gants will fund projects that advance the interoperability of electronic health records in the Commonwealth.

The competitive program is designed to accelerate the connection of electronic health records to Massachusetts’ health information exchange – the Mass HIway – making it easier for providers to exchange information using the HIway.

[See also: Massachusetts lands $17M to launch statewide HIE.]

“The meaningful use and secure exchange of electronic health records is key to delivering high-quality, cost-effective care,” Pamela Goldberg, CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, said in a news release. “These grants will support critical connections among providers in a variety of care settings to the HIway.”

MeHI works to advance the interoperability of electronic health records through supporting the adoption and use of the Mass HIway, the state’s health information exchange.

In 2012, MeHI and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services launched the statewide health information exchange, the Mass HIway, allowing for secure electronic health information to be transmitted between healthcare providers and organizations. The Mass HIway Last Mile Program helps participants connect to and use the Mass HIway, and is funded through the State Health Information Exchange Program of the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT.

[See also: A Massachusetts HIE Update.]

“We are continuing to make significant progress toward our goal of getting every provider in the Commonwealth connected to the HIway,” Laurance Stuntz, director of the Massachusetts eHealth Institute at MassTech, said in a statement. “This interface grant program moves us forward on our road to interoperability.”

Vendors supporting hospitals and large organizations are eligible for the grants. Preference will be given to electronic health record, clinical information system and care management vendors who support physicians in small practices or vendors whose applications are used in settings such as long-term care and behavioral health that are not covered by meaningful use incentives.  

As federal guidelines require EHR systems to include data exchange capabilities incorporating the Direct standards, these grants can help accelerate development of a Direct-enabled EHR system and offset the cost of developing and implementing the interfaces.

Successful applicants may receive award amounts up to $150,000. The average amount is expected to be approximately $75,000. Proposals are due June 17. The awards will be announced by early July.

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