AHRQ awards $44M for health IT support

12 Task Orders will support HHS Health IT Research Center

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has awarded 12 task orders totaling nearly $44 million to support regional technical assistance centers helping doctors and hospitals install and use electronic health record systems.

The AHRQ said it contracted for the work utilizing economic stimulus law funds for the Health and Human Services Department’s Health IT Research Center, according to a series of award notices posted on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site April 1.

The Health IT Research Center is being established to support a network of 60 HHS Health IT Regional Extension Centers, all using economic stimulus law funding.

In the past two months, HHS has announced $642 million in grants to the 60 regional extension centers to assist physicians and hospitals in achieving meaningful use of health IT. The economic stimulus law provides $17 billion in incentive payments to providers who buy and meaningfully use digital record systems.

HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT set up the technical assistance program and health IT research center primarily to help rural and small providers that might have difficulties in achieving meaningful use.

AHRQ’s role is to support the extension centers, which operate under the Health IT Research Center, on behalf of the national coordinator’s office, according to the notices.

The $44 million in task orders includes a $10.7 million award to Westat research firm in Rockville, Md., for knowledge sharing; $9.2 million to Booz Allen Hamilton of Rockville, Md., for training support; and $6 million to RTI International of Research Triangle Park, N.C., for meeting support, according to the award notices.

Additional task orders were awarded for practice transformation support, educational tools and resources for meaningful use, portal infrastructure and public Web site and private collaborative portal.


About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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