Adler-Milstein receives grant from Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has awarded a Health Services Research Demonstration and Dissemination Grant to Julia Adler-Milstein, assistant professor in the U-M School of Information and School Public Health.

These grants fund research projects to help establish objectives and define criteria to implement technology in healthcare as part of Stage 3 of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. The HITECH Act was enacted in 2009 to create a nationwide network of electronic health records (EHRs) to improve the quality and efficiency of care given to all Americans.

By encouraging healthcare providers to adopt and use EHRs with electronic health information exchange, the HITECH Act aims to enable patients’ health information to follow them between settings, thus increasing the quality of care coordination among providers and allowing doctors and researchers to access information that will lead to better public health management.

Adler-Milstein received $494,370 from the AHRQ for her project titled “Assessing Readiness, Achievement & Impact of Stage 3 Care Coordination Criteria.” Her research will gather evidence on healthcare providers’ current readiness to meet proposed criteria under the act and identify the gaps and underlying causes in their ability to achieve the standards.

She also will assess whether a physician’s ability to meet criteria will improve forms of care coordination that include the exchange of records and medication reconciliation. The research will seek to identify practices and policies that will increase the extent to which the use of EHRs will result in well-coordinated care. By ensuring that the final criteria are evidence-based, Adler-Milstein’s research will help develop the best strategies for using EHRs to improve overall care coordination.

Adler-Milstein stated in her proposal: “Without a clear understanding of what enables practices to successfully use EHRs to support care coordination and meet the related federal meaningful use criteria, the goals of the HITECH Act, to use IT to improve the quality and efficiency of care, will not be realized. In addition, broader efforts to leverage EHRs for population health and public health aims will be impeded.”

Adler-Milstein is the principal investigator on the project. Her team includes three researchers from the Altarum Institute, a national, nonprofit health systems research and consulting organization based in Ann Arbor: Anya-Victoria Day will serve as co-investigator and research director, Danielle Vibbert will be the project’s qualitative research specialist, and Andrea Walrath will serve as the project manager.

posted on thursday, september 19, 2013