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CSE Center for Health Information

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Using HIT Rising concerns about the ever increasing cost of healthcare in the United States have further increased the interest in Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and Electronic Medical Records (EMRs). EHRs and EMRs are crucial to the success of local, regional, and national goals to improve patient safety, improve the quality and efficiency of patient care, and reduce healthcare delivery costs. For example, the HITECH act, which was passed as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, provides significant financial incentives to health care providers and hospitals that can demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHRs/EMRs, and financial penalties to those providers and hospitals that fail to do so by 2015.

At the same time, EHRs and their implementation raise a number of issues that need to be resolved in order for this technology to find wide-spread acceptance. They include questions regarding certification of EHRs, questions regarding the demonstration of meaningful use, and questions regarding the value that such systems may have for physicians and hospitals, and hence the factors influencing their adoption. Moreover, the aggressive implementation schedule implied by the incentives and financial penalties set out in the HITECH Act is likely to lead to significant human resource needs.

In light of this, the School of Computing and Software Engineering at Southern Polytechnic State University established the Center for Healthcare Information Technology with the following objectives:

  1. Design and implement a series of educational programs, including professional development courses, certificate programs, degree courses and degree programs, to
    1. Increase the awareness of the potential of EHRs, and the issues that an organization would have to address when implementing an EHR;
    2. Provide IT professionals with sufficient knowledge of the healthcare industry, the peculiarities of HIT and EHRs to enable them to assist providers and hospitals in the selection and implementation of EHRs and other HIT systems;
    3. Provide CIOs of hospitals who have a thorough understanding of the healthcare sector but who may lack a formal background in information technology, with the knowledge and skills to manage the HIT in their organizations more effectively.
    4. Provide healthcare providers with technical competency to implement EHRs with certified EHR technology and tools for building health information exchange capacity.
  2. Provide certification and compliance testing services both to organizations that build and market HIT systems , and to healthcare providers and hospitals who have implemented HIT systems, including EHRs and Health Information Exchange (HIE) systems;
  3. Conduct research into the issues that healthcare providers and hospitals face in selecting, implementing, and integrating HIT systems.
  4. Conduct research and develop tools to strengthen the privacy and security of health information, and help people understand their rights and the resources available to safeguard their persona health data.
  5. Attract external funding in pursuit of objectives 1 through 4.

In pursuit of these objectives, the CSE Center for Healthcare Information Technology will work closely together with representatives from other units within SPSU, other universities in Georgia and elsewhere, and with representative both from the health care industry and from the HIT industry.

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