Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Minority Communities & EHRs

HHS in the Office of Minority Health (OMH) and Quest Diagnostics based in Madison N.J. are working together to help minority communities adopt EHRs. Quest Diagnostics will donate EHR software and services to physicians in small practices serving minority populations in Houston, Texas.

Quest Diagnostics and its subsidiary MedPlus will donate 75 EHR licenses, including subscription fees for 12 months to help integrate information technology components within participating physician practices. QUEST will collaborate with the Regional Extension Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston on staff education and training and OMH will be responsible for the evaluation of the program.

Data from the 2005-2006 “National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey” and the “National Hospital Ambulatory Medicare Survey” shows that EHR adoption is lower among providers serving Hispanic patients who are uninsured or have patients relying on Medicaid. It has been shown that adoption is lower among providers serving uninsured and non-Hispanic black patients than among providers that serve privately insured non-Hispanic white patients.

Other partners include the National Health Information Technology Collaborative for the Underserved (NHIT), HIMSS Latino Initiative workgroup, and Medic Success, located in New Jersey. These groups will assist in physician recruitment.

A healthcare provider who wished to participate must:

• Practice in a Medically Underserved Area (MUA) or in a Health Provider Shortage Area (HPSA) as designated by HHS
• Have an internet connection and use an electronic billing system
• Be a small practice group of one to five providers or a FQHC within a MUA or HPSA
• Be eligible to receive “meaningful use” incentives
• Complete an initial application and submit monthly reports.

For more information, email Dr. Meera Kanhouwa at or Marcia Thomas-Brown at