Robert H. Miller, Chris E. West, R.N., Ph.D.
R. H. Miller and C. E. West, Increasing EHR Use for Quality Improvement in Community Health Centers: The Role of Networks, The Commonwealth Fund, August 2011.
Community health center (CHC) networks that provide electronic health record (EHR) services are increasingly important within the expanding CHC sector that serves disadvantaged patients. In this issue brief, researchers describe how networks helped CHCs to use EHRs to improve chronic and preventive care and the barriers they faced. Networks made EHR software easier to use for chronic and preventive care and developed reports on provider performance and on patients needing services. However, only one network provided extensive hands-on post-implementation training and leadership support. Key barriers faced by networks included: limited EHR software capabilities, limited funding for network clinical leaders, and CHC organizational autonomy that restricted resource sharing among CHCs. To help networks support CHCs’ quality improvement, policies should increase funding to higher-performing, quality-focused networks and provide incentives for CHCs to share resources with the network and each other.