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Director of Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center Provides Congressional Testimony on the Implementation of Health Information Technology

July 28, 2010

Seattle, WA - Peggy Evans, PhD, CPHIT, Director of the Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center (WIREC) testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee of Health, Tuesday, July 27, 2010, in Washington, DC. Dr. Evans joined David Blumenthal, MD, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and several others on two panels of witnesses.

The hearing examined the implementation of the Heath Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. The HITECH Act, enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, was signed into law on February 17, 2009, to promote the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology (HIT).

WIREC is one of 60 Regional Extension Centers (RECs) across the nation. The REC program is a national effort, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, focused on assisting primary care providers with selecting, successfully implementing and achieving meaningful use through certified electronic health record (EHR) technology to improve the quality and value of healthcare.

Dr. Evans serves as the Director of WIREC at Qualis Health, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of healthcare delivery and health outcomes for individuals and populations across the nation. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce health subcommittee members invited Dr. Evans to testify specifically about how WIREC provides vendor-neutral EHR adoption services to help healthcare providers attain meaningful use and realize the potential for that transformation.

"We appreciated this opportunity to share our experience through the Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center Program," said Jonathan Sugarman, MD, MPH, President and Chief Executive Officer of Qualis Health. "EHR implementation leads to better results for patients and providers, and we are proud to be a part of this transition to meaningful use."

To date, WIREC has enrolled practices comprising 500 primary care physicians across Washington and Idaho. Those practices use a variety of different EHR systems. In her testimony, Dr. Evans characterized those practices and stated, "Implementing an EHR system and moving toward meaningful use is a transformation, far beyond the technical aspects of implementing a computer system. WIREC looks forward to helping providers embark on that transformation."

About WIREC, Washington & Idaho's Regional Extension Center for Health Information Technology

Led by Qualis Health, WIREC offers a comprehensive suite of services to participating practices across Washington and Idaho. Our technical assistance is carried out by a consortium of the region's premier HIT adoption organizations:

  • Community Choice Health Network
  • IdahoHealth Data Exchange
  • Inland Northwest Health Services
  • North IdahoHealth Network
  • PTSO of Washington
  • Qualis Health

With years of experience navigating the complexities of both EHR implementation and governmental programs, the WIREC team is uniquely positioned to guide participating practices to reach meaningful use standards, earn incentive payments and improve their systems of care.


About Qualis Health

Qualis Health is dedicated to improving the quality of healthcare delivery and health outcomes for individuals and populations across the nation. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, the nonprofit healthcare quality improvement and consulting organization strives to achieve performance excellence for our clients by focusing on best practices and providing a range of services that lead to better quality care, higher patient and provider satisfaction, and greater efficiency. Qualis Health serves as the CMS-designated Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) for Washington and Idaho, and provides quality improvement and health information technology consulting, as well as care management services, to more than three million Medicaid clients in five states.

Editor's Note: Images of Dr. Evans from the hearing are available upon request.

This material was prepared by Qualis Health as part of our work as the Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center under grant #90RC0033/01 from the Office of the National Coordinator, Department of Health and Human Services.

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