Dr. Ted Chan, an emergency medicine physician with UC San Diego Health System and San Diego Beacon Community program leader, was one of 82 representatives from across the country whose progress in health information technology (IT) was recognized by the White House and Health and Human Services (HHS) in Washington, D.C., at a White House Town Hall on Tuesday. Chan also joined a select panel of health care providers to discuss the progress and successes around health IT implementation in the United States.
“Every day, technology is improving how we do business, how we stay in touch and how we take care of our health. Technology is modernizing our world, and is the foundation of an effective 21st century health care system,” said Craig Brammer, Director of the Beacon Community Program.
“Leaders in communities across the country understand that technology is modernizing the health sector and the Beacon Communities — America’s most wired communities — are lighting the way,” Brammer said. “Dr. Chan’s leadership and commitment to connecting the community’s health sector will help make health care even better in San Diego, and provide valuable lessons for others across the nation.”
During the White House Health IT Town Hall, senior White House and HHS officials recognized local efforts in moving the nation toward an electronically-enabled health care system. In addition to discussing the meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs), a panel of health care providers, including Chan, shared their insights on the important role that health IT programs — such as the Beacon Community Program — have played in helping them implement EHRs and support health care improvements through IT-enabled interventions.
“The San Diego Beacon Community is helping my community better use health information technology to significantly enhance our quality of patient care,” Chan said. “For example, the San Diego Beacon Community is improving health care and reducing costs by electronically transmitting electrocardiograms, from ambulances to hospital emergency departments before the patient arrives, to ensure faster and better coordinated care for emergency cardiac patients.
Now that our technology foundation is in place, the San Diego Beacon Community continues to connect us with other health IT vanguards who can keep us informed of the changing health care landscape in other parts of the country. We appreciate the opportunity to inform this important conversation at the White House Town Hall.”
About the Beacon Community Program
The Beacon Community Cooperative Agreement Program is part of a larger movement to modernize health care that demonstrates how health IT investments and meaningful use of EHRs advance the vision of patient-centered care, while achieving the three-part aim of better health, better care and lower costs.
The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) is providing $250 million over three years to 17 selected communities throughout the United States that have already made inroads in the development of secure, private, and accurate systems of EHR adoption and health information exchange.
Each of the communities, with its unique population and regional context, is actively pursuing the following areas of focus:
• Building and strengthening the health IT infrastructure and exchange capabilities within communities, positioning each community to pursue a new level of sustainable health care quality and efficiency over the coming years;
• Translating investments in health IT in the short-run to measureable improvements in cost, quality and population health;
• Developing innovative approaches to performance measurement, technology and care delivery to accelerate evidence generation for new approaches.
About the San Diego Beacon Community
The San Diego Beacon Community (SDBC) is one of 17 Beacon Communities building and strengthening local health IT infrastructure, and testing innovative approaches to make measurable improvements in health, care and cost. Funded by the ONC, SDBC is working to improve the quality of health care delivered for all San Diegans by using health information technology as it pursues five objectives: build a health information exchange (exchange) that will link health care providers electronically; improve care for emergency cardiac patients; improve childhood immunization rates; and reduce unnecessary hospital readmissions and radiology tests.
Physicians, patients and other San Diegans interested in learning more about the San Diego Beacon Community project and how to participate in the health information exchange are encouraged to visit SanDiegoBeacon.org for more information.