The White House announced yesterday that New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) will receive more than $23 million of the $2 billion allocated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to achieve widespread meaningful use of health IT and facilitate use of an electronic health record (EHR) by every person by the year 2014. The newborn New Jersey Health Information Technology Extension Center (NJ-HITEC) initiative proposed by NJIT Senior Vice President for Research and Development Donald H. Sebastian, PhD, principal investigator, will assist New Jersey’s health care providers in their significant use of health information technology through outreach, consultation and user support for the state’s primary care providers serving at-risk population centers.
“This federal program shows that health care reform is about more than just insurance. We can drive down costs and improve care through the re-engineering of medical practice. Information technology is a critical enabler,” said Sebastian. “Roughly 80 percent of the state’s physicians serve at-risk population areas--the large urban regions of Newark, Trenton, Camden and Atlantic City-- and these providers will be the primary receivers of grant-assisted services supporting them to achieve meaningful use of electronic healthcare record systems.”
William O’Byrne, State Coordinator, Office of Health Information Technology Development, State of New Jersey pointed out that, “NJ-HITEC staff will offer client practices one-stop shopping, coordinating the delivery of services and technology from public and private sources. This brokered service-organizational model, based upon NJIT’s decades of experience in managing statewide extension efforts with high impact, will leverage existing public and private-sector partners and eliminate the need for large administrative overhead.” New Jersey’s 19 community colleges will act as exclusive partners for the delivery of outreach and awareness training throughout the state. The NJIT Division of Continuing and Professional Education will complement these efforts.
Director of the New Jersey Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, John R. Guhl added, “I am pleased to see that New Jersey’s university of science and technology has stepped forward to lead this effort. NJIT has a solid track record in deploying an array of outreach and extension programs and also has the technical expertise to bring fresh ideas and emerging technologies to the field with objectivity and credibility.”
Thomas M. Bartiromo, vice president and chief technology officer at Saint Barnabas Health Care System, indicated that, “Our whole delivery approach will take advantage of the strong partnerships formed with New Jersey Hospital Association, Health Information Management and Systems Society, Medical Society of New Jersey, NJ Community College Consortium for Workforce & Economic Development, New Jersey Department of Health and the New Jersey Human Services-- without which this new Center would not be realized. The HIT Extension Center award to NJIT is fantastic news for New Jersey, its patients, hospitals and physician community. This will provide much-needed assistance for physician practices to further their adoption of Health Information Technology, achieve meaningful use of an EHR and participate in Health Information Exchange/s. This also provides an opportunity for the planned NJ Health Care Innovation Center to work closely with the HITEC to prioritize areas for system solutions and innovations to and from the field. This platform will help create the conditions for continuous HIT Innovation to occur in New Jersey.”
Tom Gregorio, senior vice president administration and chief information officer, Meadowlands Hospital and executive director of Health-e-cITi NJ, a regional healthcare information exchange (HIE), explained “this award to NJIT represents the final step in aligning the HIE efforts in the state with the federal requirements providing physicians with the capabilities to become meaningful users of Healthcare Information Technology. Health-e-cITi NJ is proud to have contributed to the efforts and is proud to be a part of the collaboration with NJIT. I would also like to thank Don Sebastian for his relentless leadership and vision in making sure that NJIT and the state is in front of the line when it comes to healthcare innovation technology. His vision for the University and the State are sure to place the program among the models for the country.”
“The New Jersey Chapter of HIMSS is excited at the potential for adoption of transformational technology by our physicians that NJ-HITEC, a Regional Extension Center, will help spearhead,” said Richard S. Temple, president, New Jersey Chapter of HIMSS.
NJIT President Robert A. Altenkirch, PhD, extolled the collaboration. “Every member of the partnership that secured this grant is to be congratulated for their dedication and tireless efforts. Their success is a substantial contribution to more effective and economical delivery of health care and, most importantly, to better health for the people of New Jersey,” he said.