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EHR Selection Toolkit for Community Health Centers

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Publication Date: October 2007

Publisher(s): California HealthCare Foundation

Topic: Health (Hospitals and other health care facilities)

Type: Report

Coverage: California


California's safety-net clinics provide a broad array of services to low-income and medically underserved people regardless of a patient's ability to pay. Electronic health records (EHRs) can improve both quality of care and efficiency, but clinics must navigate licensure and reporting requirements when selecting an EHR system. Safety-net clinics in the state of California include an array of categories: federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), FQHC look-alikes, public clinics, private not-for-profit clinics, rural health clinics, free clinics, and others. Each type of clinic has different needs for federal and state licensure and funding. In addition, the reporting requirements of government entities and grant funders, as well as the diverse composition of the populations that these clinics serve, pose unique challenges for practice management and electronic medical record systems, collectively referred to as electronic health records. This toolkit describes the differences between commercial and community health centers (CHCs). Based on this description, Worksheet A provides a list of functional criteria to review with EHR vendors to ensure that the unique needs of CHCs are met. In addition, Uniform Data Set (UDS) reporting is a requirement for FQHCs and can present substantial complexity. Current data format and reporting requirements can be found in Worksheet B.