HIT Education and Assistance Available

Need help with health information technology (HIT)? Free phone consultations from TMA's HIT team, on-site technical consulting through the Texas regional extension centers (RECs), and the Texas Health IT Summit are some of the many ways physicians can stay informed and up to date. 

TMA HIT Offers Free Consultations  

TMA members can receive a free 30-minute phone consultation on electronic health records (EHRs), e-prescribing, federal incentives, and meaningful use. TMA leaders feel so strongly that this information is critical to your practice, they want to make sure you have the information you need.

Make sure you are taking the necessary steps to avoid costly penalties and earn federal incentives available to you by "meaningfully use" of a certified EHR – up to $44,000 under Medicare or up to $63,750 under Medicaid.

TMA's HIT staff will talk with you one-on-one to answer the questions many Texas physicians are asking:

  • What EHR incentive program is right for me?
  • Will EHRs be mandatory?
  • What steps are required to earn EHR incentives?
  • How long will incentives be available?
  • Where can I turn for on-site technical consulting?

Schedule your consultation by emailing HIT with your name, phone number, and preferred contact time (morning, afternoon, evening), or by calling the TMA HIT helpline at (800) 880-5720.

Regional Extension Centers

Physicians often face significant challenges when transitioning from a paper-based system to EHRs. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the "stimulus bill," authorized the formation of HIT RECs. These centers support physician practices looking to adopt or upgrade to an EHR system through on-site consulting. As of July 2011, more than 80,000 physicians across the United States had signed up for REC services. A portion of the stimulus provides funding for primary care physicians to receive technical consulting services.

Texas is home to four RECs. Their services are designed to take your practice from its current state – whether you are starting with a paper-based system or looking to optimize your current EHR system – to "meaningful use" to qualify for the federal EHR incentives. The Texas RECs understand the unique challenges physicians face and will work with you to fully realize the benefits of EHRs in improving efficiencies and patient care. They serve as a direct pipeline to the national program with HIT adoption.

Primary care physicians qualify for a grant that lowers the annual price of services to $300 per physician. Federal incentives for consulting and EHR use are unprecedented and will not last long. Learn more about the Texas RECs, available incentives, REC and incentive eligibility, and meaningful use at on the TMA website.  

Texas Health IT Summit

Texas Health Institute and TMF Health Quality Institute are sponsoring the Health IT Summit in Dallas, Sept. 8-10. Thursday evening, physicians and health care providers can have dinner and visit with EHR vendors, as well as hear from HIT experts on subjects such as the value proposition for adopting EHRs, EHR contract strategies, ICD-10 rollout, and success strategies for EHR adoption.

Friday features an all-day educational event to discuss current HIT topics, including EHR adoption, health information exchange, privacy and security, accountable care organizations, return on investment, and "meaningful use" and physician incentive programs. Friday evening will be all rest and relaxation, with a trip to the ballpark to see the Texas Rangers play the Oakland Athletics for "Fireworks Friday." 

 On Saturday, the summit offers sessions on EHR selection, project management essentials for HIT deployment, telemedicine, the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative, clinical decision support, and an update from the 82nd Texas Legislature. (See theTexas Health IT Summit Agenda.)

Visit the Health IT Summit website or e-mail aconway@texashealthinstitute.org for more information.

Action, Aug. 1, 2011