HealthPOINT Celebrates National Health IT Week

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HealthPOINT at Dakota State University was started in 2010 through an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant to help healthcare providers adopt Electronic Health Records (EHR) and guide providers and hospitals to Meaningful Use. In recognition of National Health Information Technology (IT) Week, HealthPOINT announced today that the organization has 96% of its target number of 700 primary care providers live on EHRs and over half to Meaningful Use.

Meaningful Use occurs when healthcare providers and hospitals take specific actions set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to make the use of EHRs beneficial to patients. These steps include but are not limited to:

  • Providing patients quicker access to their health information through use of patient portals.
  • Protecting and securing patients’ health information privacy and records.
  • Offering patients a summary of each visit.
  • Helping preventing drug errors.
  • Sharing health information with other doctors, according to patients’ preferences, in order to coordinate care with other providers.

The goals of this transformation in healthcare across the nation are improving care delivery, improving health and reducing growth in costs through improvement. “I am excited that my organization has become more focused on health and prevention, and opportunities to better manage patients’ care,” commented Darrel Riddle, CEO of Rapid City Medical Center. “Having effective EMR (Electronic Medical Records) is one of the key tools in achieving these goals.”

HealthPOINT, South Dakota’s Regional Extension Center (REC), has assisted healthcare providers to Meaningful Use through services including workflow assessment and redesign, project management, readiness assessments, HIPAA training and many others.

“The privacy and security service line offered by HealthPOINT is the most sought after product we have,” explained the organization’s Executive Director Dan Friedrich. “Because of who we are at Dakota State University with our tremendous talent and reputation in this area, we can provide security risk assessments (SRA), network penetration testing and vulnerability assessments that can stand on their own even at a national level.”

The reason the privacy and security services are significant areas for HealthPOINT is because of the high priority placed on protecting patients’ information. Federal laws require healthcare organizations to have policies and security safeguards in place. “Providers take protecting their patients’ information very seriously so we do everything we can to assist them in doing just that,” Friedrich stated.

The SRA process involves reviewing the provider’s or hospital’s physical, technical and administrative safeguards to protecting data. Following an interview process and facility walk-through, a report is generated documenting problem areas, if any, and advising on remediation steps.

In basic terms, network penetration testing and vulnerability assessments analyze the ease with which potential hackers could obtain patients’ health information. “Dakota State University has had Health Information Management majors since 1975 and is one of only eight universities in the United States to have a Cyber Core course of study that is recognized by the National Security Agency as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations so having these services is a great fit,” said Friedrich.

Health information technology improves the quality of healthcare delivery, increases patient safety, decreases medical errors and strengthens the interaction between patients and healthcare providers. National Health IT Week, September 16 – 20, marks the important role health IT plays in improving healthcare delivery in America. Now in its eighth year, National Health IT Week is a collaborative forum assembling key healthcare constituents – providers, hospitals, pharmaceutical/biotech companies, vendors, payers, government agencies, industry professionals, research and consumer protection groups – working together to elevate national attention to the necessity of advancing health IT.


Last Updated: 9/10/13