Colorado's Health Technology Regional Extension Center Program Reaches Goals, Enables State to Be a Leader in EHR Adoption

Date: November 19th, 2014Category: Press ReleasesTopics: EHRs, Meaningful Use, Transformation Support Services

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The Colorado Regional Extension Center (REC) Completes Multi-year ARRA HITECH Program, Announces Continued and Expanded Services

DENVER, Colo. - November 19, 2014 - CORHIO announced today that the Colorado Regional Extension Center program completed its goal of helping 2,295 primary care providers and 33 rural and critical access hospitals adopt and meaningfully use electronic health records (EHR) technology.

Of the 2,295 primary care providers that the Colorado Regional Extension Center program assisted, 1,236 are family practice or general medicine practitioners, 465 are internal medicine or geriatrics providers, 385 are pediatricians and 209 are OB-GYNs.

The Colorado Regional Extension Center program was funded through a federal ARRA HITECH grant, awarded to CORHIO in 2010 by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) and The Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT (ONC). CORHIO administered the program and partnered with seven local health care organizations to deliver services to providers. The partners included: ClinicNET, Colorado Community Managed Care Network (CCMCN), Colorado Rural Health Center (CRHC), HealthTeamWorks, Physician Health Partners (PHP), Telligen (formerly Colorado Foundation for Medical Care) and Quality Health Network (QHN). Due to the grant, the Colorado Regional Extension Center was able to offer participating providers free assistance with EHR adoption and with the Meaningful Use objectives that are part of CMS’ EHR Incentive Programs.

“The Colorado Regional Extension Center was a valuable asset to me when we were attesting to Meaningful Use,” said DeeAnn Sierra, clinic practice manager for the Rio Grande Hospital and Clinics. “Knowing that we had them to help us and lead us during the Meaningful Use attestation process, it took a lot of stress off of me. If I didn’t have an answer, I knew that we could rely on our contacts at the Regional Extension Center.”

According to national statistics, 84 percent of Colorado’s physicians are using EHRs, exceeding the national average of 78 percent. Additionally, 76 percent of Colorado hospitals have adopted EHRs, exceeding the national average of 59 percent (source: 2013 National Electronic Health Records Survey). The most current statistics are from 2013, and considering the rapid rate of EHR adoption over the past year, today’s percentages would be even higher if the data were available.

"We are grateful for the hard work that our partners put into the program over the last four years," said Kelly Procopio, director of the Colorado Regional Extension Center. “Each of our partners brought valuable expertise to the program. And because of our collaborative approach, we were able to reach both urban and rural areas of the state and serve a larger number of providers than any single organization could have on its own.”

Although the Colorado Regional Extension Center has completed its program goals, CORHIO will continue to offer health care providers assistance with health information technology. The program is converting into a new services division within CORHIO called Transformation Support Services. This new division will offer administrative and consultative assistance to office-based providers both directly and through its partner network. This assistance will include help with adopting EHRs, Meaningful Use objectives and reporting, migrating EHR platforms, quality reporting and Medical Home recognition.

“After helping thousands of physicians and other health care providers adopt and meaningfully use electronic health records over the past four years, CORHIO has developed deep expertise and best practices in these areas," said Procopio. “It’s exciting to leverage this expertise and bring it to other providers, including specialists, across the state. We are passionate about helping as many providers as possible use technology in a way that results in better patient outcomes, more coordinated transitions of care and streamlined practice operations.”

CORHIO is dedicated to improving health care quality for all Coloradans through health information technology and health information exchange (HIE). As the state-designated entity for HIE, CORHIO collaborates with all health care stakeholders including physicians, hospitals, clinics, public health, long-term care, laboratories, radiology centers, health plans and patients to improve care through secure systems and processes for sharing clinical information. CORHIO is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership. For more information about CORHIO, please visit