Health IT evangelists find help in the cloud

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    Cathy Clarke

    Health IT evangelists find help in the cloud

    Cloud app to help HHS centers trying to sell physicians on electronic health records

    By Alice Lipowicz
    May 24, 2010

    The Health and Human Services Department is deploying a cloud-based customer-relationship management system to help its regional centers do
    a more effective job of promoting the use of electronic health record

    HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT created the 60 regional extension centers to assist physicians in
    smaller practices and in rural areas in purchasing and meaningfully
    using electronic health record systems under the economic stimulus law.
    HHS will distribute $17 billion in incentive payments to doctors and
    hospitals that buy the systems and achieve meaningful use.

    Under a contract awarded in February, Acumen Solutions to implement a cloud computing solution from at the extension
    centers. The cloud solution provides customer relationship management
    as well as project management.

    The software will assist the centers in managing their relationships with the physicians, and also will provide HHS with a measure of those
    efforts, said Marty Young, managing director of Acumen Solutions.

    The centers will use the software to regularly update the names of physicians in their region and to manage their interactions with them.
    For example, the centers will be able to identify which doctors have
    been offered assistance, how many have responded, how many physicians
    have signed contracts to purchase electronic record systems, and how
    many have attained meaningful use of those systems.

    “A lot of what the extension centers are doing is marketing and education,” Young said. The cloud solution assists in tracking the
    marketing activities and responses, he said.

    At the same time, HHS is using the cloud-based system to help manage the regional centers and audit their performance in achieving
    milestones such as the number of doctors signed up for assistance,
    doctors who have purchased systems, and doctors who have attained
    meaningful use.

    “HHS is running this like a business. They are using to manage the regional extension centers,” Young said. “Each regional
    extension center is treated as a separate business unit.”

    HHS provided the cloud computing service to the centers. However, some of the centers already have customer relationship management
    systems, which are being integrated with the Acumen/
    system, Young said.

    About the Author

    Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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