Greenway is proud to assist a number of Beacon Communities in their mission to improve population health through the use of innovative information technology to connect and improve care delivery.
“The goal of the program is to start with outcomes and work backwards. We’ve learned that’s an incredible gift — to have very specific goals, not for a hospital or for a clinic, but for an entire community… If you know what you want to use it for, technology will yield incredible dividends.”
Farzad Mostashari, MD, ScM
National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
The Beacon Community Program
As part of the HITECH Act, 17 healthcare communities have been selected to participate in the Beacon Community Cooperative Agreement Program based on their innovative display of secure, private and accurate systems of electronic health record (EHR) adoption and health information exchange. Each community has received federal grant funding and is supported by the Beacon Program to improve care coordination, increase the quality of care, and slow the growth of healthcare spending.
Each Beacon Community will be tasked with measurable goals that align with local population needs. For example, communities may concentrate on ways to reduce costs associated with essential care for chronic conditions, including asthma and diabetes. Harmonized processes to collect and share clinical data across communities will create efficiencies and improve diagnoses.
Beacon Communities are progressively researching these goals, beginning with the utilization of an EHR as a foundation to measure performance. Collection of data in the EHR enables providers and health information exchange (HIE) entities to openly share information to aid in development of more efficient healthcare processes. Without health IT as the infrastructure, it would be tedious and nearly impossible to achieve these goals.
Beacon Affinity Group
Greenway regularly participates and collaborates with several beacon communities and other EHR vendors as a part of the ONC Beacon-EHR Vendor Affinity Group. The Affinity Group Executive Steering Committee is composed of five Beacons (Rhode Island, Tulsa, Cincinnati, Colorado, and Keystone) five vendors, the ONC, and members of the ONC Beacon technical assistance team. Communication between these types of organizations has become a vital key to success as the Beacon Communities promote the adoption, use and interoperability of EHR technology in order to advance patient outcomes and address population needs. Specific long term goals include the following:
- Using the definitions of a CCD to enable the automated import of selected discrete data into an EHR for a properly formatted and tested CCD with fully coded data.
- Make recommendations for patient consent technical implementation options within a health information exchange, leveraging existing standards e.g. IHE – BPPC, XACML, etc.
- Address the use of industry standards (SAML 2.0 preferred, SAML 1.1 second) to implement the capability for a user, from within the EHR, to single sign on and pass context to or from the HIE without new sign-ons, passwords, or complex middleware.
To review more information on the progress that has been made with in the ONC Beacon – EHR Affinity Group please click the links below.
Who are the Beacon Communities?
- Bangor Beacon Community, Brewer, ME
- Beacon Community of the Inland Northwest, Spokane, WA
- Central Indiana Beacon Community, Indianapolis, IN
- Colorado Beacon Community, Grand Junction, CO
- Crescent City Beacon Community, New Orleans, LA
- Delta BLUES Beacon Community, Stoneville, MA
- Greater Cincinnati Beacon Community, Cincinnati, OH
- Greater Tulsa Health Access Network Beacon Community, Tulsa, OK
- Hawaii County Beacon Community, Hilo, HI
- Keystone Beacon Community, Danville, PA
- Rhode Island Beacon Community, Providence, RI
- San Diego Beacon Community, San Diego, CA
- Southeast Michigan Beacon Community, Detroit, MI
- Southeastern Minnesota Beacon Community, Rochester, MN
- Southern Piedmont Beacon Community, Concord, NC
- Utah Beacon Community, Salt Lake City, UT
- Western New York Beacon Community, Buffalo, NY