Assessment of Health IT and Data Exchange in Safety Net Providers: Final Report Appendix. Introduction


NORC at the University of Chicago (NORC) is pleased to present this report detailing findings from our meeting with the District of Columbia Primary Care Association (DCPCA) for “Assessment of Health IT and Data Exchange in Safety Net Providers.”  NORC conducted this meeting under contract with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation ( ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ( HHS).  The Health Resources and Services Administration ( HRSA) works in conjunction with ASPE to guide activities under this project. This report is one of a number of white papers produced for the project.

The purpose of the meeting was to explore the experience of DCPCA and its member health centers and clinics during the implementation of the eClinicalWorks (eCW) electronic medical record ( EMR) in six provider member organizations across the District. DCPCA received a substantial grant from the Washington, DC government to implement electronic health records (EHRs) among a number of its members. While we have investigated a number of consortia based EHR implementation projects under the current task order, DC offers a unique opportunity to look at an effort funded primarily by municipal government and managed through a local primary care association.

NORC convened a panel of DCPCA members at the Association’s offices in downtown Washington, DC on January 14th, 2009. There were 10 participants, spanning three of the providers involved in the EHR implementation and including clinical, administrative and IT staff. Jim Costello, IT Program Manager at DCPCA also participated actively in the meeting. Adil Moiduddin and Dan Gaylin of NORC led the conversation, with two NORC staff taking notes. Federal partners from both ASPE and HRSA as well as representatives from Cumberland Consulting (DCPCA’s partner) joined the panel as observers. The conversation lasted roughly three hours, with one 10-minute break. NORC conducted a one-hour follow-up meeting with Jim Costello of DCPCA over the phone to address issues not covered during the January meeting.

This report will provide background information on DCPCA and summarize the meeting. The first section will detail the history of DCPCA and background of their involvement with HIT. Following this, there is an explanation of DCPCA’s EHR implementation process, detailing motivations, planning, training and roll-out. We then discuss future direction for the Association in health IT including plans around HIE, strategies for long term sustainability and project financing both at inception and over time. We end with some conclusions on the meeting.

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