The HITECH Act invested billions in federal funds for health IT, with up to $3 billion for California alone. How has the state spent the money, and what progress has been made?
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, invested billions in federal funds for health information technology (HIT) to improve health care delivery throughout the United States. Although California has made much progress since HITECH's passage, the state has also experienced setbacks, including the low rate of e-prescribing adoption and the closure of Cal eConnect, the state's health information exchange governance entity.
This report examines HITECH's history and impact in California and details how HITECH funds have been spent so far. It describes the state's progress and makes recommendations in several areas: the Medi-Cal EHR Incentive Program, Regional Extension Centers (RECs), health information exchange (HIE), and telehealth. HITECH also funded smaller programs in California, such as the Beacon Community Program and Workforce Development Program, which are not discussed in this report.
The report offers recommendations to improve HIT efforts within California:
- Develop an overarching vision. California would benefit from a statewide approach that unifies current statewide HITECH implementation efforts and aligns them with payment reform and system redesign as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
- Establish centralized governance. Consolidation and streamlining of program governance associated with the California Telehealth Network, HIE, and REC efforts would reduce redundancies and facilitate program coordination.
- Retain strong leadership. Strong leaders must be recruited and retained to run these programs, and they must be given the authority, resources, and support to succeed.
An interactive graphic shows how HITECH dollars have been spent so far in California.
The full report is available under Document Downloads.