The Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances IFR is now available

This will create a larger incentive for psychiatrists to begin to adopt e-prescribing systems in the Mental Health field. This has been one of the most difficult parts of fully implementing e-prescribing for CMH physicians.

Yesterday (3/24) the Office of the Federal Register made available for public inspection an Interim Final Rule with Request for Comments from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Department of Justice on Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances.  The Interim Final Rule specifies the rules that health care providers will need to follow in order to electronically prescribe controlled substances in accordance with the law.  Since DEA published the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for electronic prescribing of controlled substance, ONC, CMS, AHRQ and other HHS staff have worked closely with DEA to develop the policies in the Interim Final Rule.   The Interim Final Rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, March 31 and will include a 60 day comment period.

To view the Interim Final Rules CLICK HERE

Afia Announces Vendor Selection Tool

We are happy to announce our new online Afia Vendor Selection Tool. This program will help your organization to determine the best Electronic Health Records, Practice Management systems, Disease Management systems, or ePrescribing modules to fit your workflow. Contact us today to find out how the Afia Vendor Selection Tool can help your organization.

Come visit the Afia booth at the National Council Conference

Afia has its own booth this year, right behind the YouTube booth. Come talk to Matt or Jeremy to see how Afia can help your organization create an effective long term IT strategy, select the right EHR vendor and system, or provide long term support and management for your technology.

HIT utilized in creating field hospitals in Haiti

This video captures an amazing demonstration of how health information technology can be used in even the most difficult circumstances. Within 48 hours of the Haiti earthquake, an Israeli team had already set up a state of the art field medical hospital complete with electronic health records, full imbedded scanning equipment, and even a fully functional NICU.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Afia signs contract with Harbor

HarborAfia signed a contract this week with Harbor in Toledo, OH to provide an IT strategy that will support Harbor’s organizational plan. Afia will review all of Harbor’s strategic and business goals and develop a 3-5 year IT plan and start an IT governance model that Harbor will use to manage and maintain their ongoing IT Portfolio. Afia will also provide Harbor with a suite of visual tools to manage ongoing IT investments that will help bridge the gap between the business people and the IT people.

Afia signs contract with HVPA

HVPAAfia has begun working with Huron Valley Physicians Association (HVPA) to develop an EHR selection tool that HVPA members can use to evaluate and select EHR and Practice Management systems to meet all ARRA Meaningful Use requirements. Afia will use its user-centered design approach to work with HVPA practices to build the tool to meet the needs and requirements of all the HVPA members.

Afia presents with the NNED on Social Media

Social Media and Web 2.0

The National Network to Eliminate Disparities

Today Jeremy presented with the National Network to Eliminate Disparities about how community organizations can use and utilize social media to establish and expand their brand.
Please visit the NNED site to learn more and see a copy of the presentation

IBM interns use SMS to save lives in Africa

This type of simple technological solution is just the start of a world wide revolution in the health care field. Technology will be used to monitor people’s health and provide reminders and triggers on when to do things and how.

A new initiative called SMS for Life, born from the minds of a group of IBM’s Extreme Blue interns and pharmaceutical company Novartis, uses cell phones, texting and an e-mapping Web site to track and manage the supply malaria-fighting drugs in Africa.


Obama announces $500 million for HIT and Medical Homes for Community Health Centers

This is a great demonstration project that will be used to identify pilot areas that will develop and implement Health IT systems and solutions for Community Health Centers to create medical homes. This type of integration and model of care is the type of care that will help reduce health disparities for all people.

The ONC announces Beacon Communities for Health IT

This is a great opportunity for communities to begin to demonstrate their HIT efforts and how they can become a model for the country. Anyone that is interested in seeing if they qualify, contact us at

Beacon Communities:  Shining a Light on the Real Impacts of Health IT

December 2, 2009

A Message from Dr. David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

Today the administration announced the availability of $235 million in funds to support the Beacon Community Program.  The Beacon Community Program (BCP) will help to accelerate and demonstrate the ability of health IT to transform local health care systems, and to improve the lives of Americans and the performance of the health care providers who serve them.  The Program will take communities at the cutting edge of electronic health record (EHR) adoption and health information exchange and push them to a new level of health care quality and efficiency.  The resulting experience will inform efforts throughout the United States to support the meaningful use of EHRs, the primary goal of the Federal Government’s new health IT initiative.

$220M of the funds will support 15 communities, which are expected to have rates of EHR adoption that are significantly higher than published national estimates.  These communities are best positioned to lead the way in accomplishing meaningful use of EHRs and to provide valuable lessons to other localities on the preferred approaches to elevating the performance of local health systems using health IT.  An additional $15 million will subsequently support technical assistance to the communities and an independent evaluation of the program.

As part of the $220 million in cooperative agreements that will support the 15 chosen communities, recipients will be asked to define, track, and report on progress toward concrete, measurable health and efficiency goals that are related to EHR adoption and meaningful use.  These might include reductions in blood pressure among hypertensives, reduced blood sugar levels among diabetics, lower smoking levels, or reductions in health care disparities among populations.  The resulting data will provide information for mid-course corrections and will also help independent evaluations judge the success of the program.

In order to make maximum use of existing federal resources, Beacon Communities also will be expected wherever possible to tap into other existing federal programs that are working to promote health information exchange at the community level.  Close coordination with the Regional Extension Center ProgramState Health Information Exchange Program, and the national Health Information Technology Research Center (HITRC), will ensure that lessons learned are shared for the benefit of all.  Beacon Communities are expected to maximize their efforts by leveraging other existing federal programs and resources that are working to promote health information exchange at the community level, including the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs development of a Virtual Lifetime Electronic Health Record (VLER) for all active duty, Guard and Reserve, retired military personnel, and eligible separated Veterans.

I’ve spoken often of my own experience with electronic health records in medical practice, and my resulting conviction that access to electronic health information at the point of care made me a better doctor, and helped my patients.  I’ve highlighted examples of health systems, large and small, urban and rural, that have experienced major improvements in care and reduced costs resulting from the use of EHR systems and health IT.  And I’ve shared the opinions of experts who conclude that the entry of the medical profession into the digital age is much needed, and long overdue.  The Beacon Community Program will enable us to test the capacity of health IT to accomplish this shared vision at an accelerated pace.  We hope these communities will truly prove beacons that the rest of our health system can use to guide our collective efforts to use information to improve the health and health care of Americans.


David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P.
National Coordinator for Health Information Technology 
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services