Forum aims to educate Minority Business Enterprise firms about health information technology opportunities
GREENBELT, Md. (June 7, 2010) – At a forum sponsored by the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs (GOMA) and Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP) today, Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown announced that Maryland is one of three states with State Health IT plans approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, allowing the state to move forward to implement a functional health information exchange. Brown made the announcement during remarks to minority businesses active and interested in health IT regarding Maryland’s efforts to build a national model for health information technology.
“Health IT is a vital component of health reform. Effective implementation of health IT will ensure that clinicians have the right information available at the right time. It will improve treatment, prevent errors and reduce health care costs. It will help us gather information to improve disease surveillance, improve our understanding of what works in the real world and shape practice guidelines. In many ways, it will help bring the health care profession entirely into the 21st century,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “We are proud to be recognized by David Blumenthal and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for our work to build a model health information exchange. Since Governor O’Malley and I first took office four years ago, Maryland has emerged as a national leader in health care and we intend to tap our dynamic small and minority-owned business community to ensure that we lead the way on health information technology as well.”
Through a partnership with GOMA, CRISP hosted a Health Information Technology Forum to inform Maryland’s minority- and women-owned businesses about how they can capitalize on business opportunities in the fast-growing health IT sector. As of Monday morning, more than 100 members of the Maryland business community had registered. Representatives from Microsoft, Computer Sciences Corporation and Planned Systems International provided information on opportunities for minority-owned firms within their respective organizations and helped sponsor the event.
“CRISP recognizes that the small-business community has a key role to play in helping thousands of physicians and dozens of hospitals and health facilities move from paper-based to electronic record-keeping,” said David Horrocks, President of CRISP. “We are pleased to work with Lt. Governor and GOMA to host this event.”
Maryland is home to one of the nation’s most diverse business communities and the nation’s most ambitious Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) program. Maryland is the only state in America to collect uniform reporting data, including actual payments to MBEs, nor does any state set a higher MBE participation goal than Maryland’s 25 percent threshold. Since taking office, the O’Malley-Brown administration has increased MBE awards by 61 percent during tough economic times that have seen General Fund spending cut by 3 percent – a $630 million increase from what the previous administration awarded during more prosperous times and during a period when government spending increased by 33 percent.
Investment in health IT through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and other federally-sponsored initiatives is creating growth opportunities for minority-owned firms seeking to launch or expand capabilities. Over the past year, Maryland and its partners in academia and the non-profit sector have secured nearly $25 million in ARRA funds for the expansion of health IT and development of the health IT workforce in Maryland. Services provided by small businesses could include assistance to physicians seeking to implement electronic health records and developing and training the state’s health information technology workforce.
“The Summit Health Institute for Research and Education (SHIRE) is proud to be one of Maryland’s non-profit sector partners in their efforts to leverage health IT as a tool to address and eliminate health disparities among underserved populations and communities of color,” said Dr. Russell Davis, President of SHIRE. “This meeting will ensure that all members of the community, including minority businesses and community based organizations, are at the table in their efforts to develop a collaborative approach to using health IT meaningfully among those most vulnerable. Towards these ends, SHIRE is looking forward to continuing our work with the Lt. Governor, state officials and CRISP.”
CRISP is a not-for-profit membership corporation advised by a wide range of stakeholders responsible for the healthcare of Maryland’s citizens. CRISP seeks input and advice from patients, hospital systems, physicians, insurance providers, technology providers, privacy advocates, public health officials and advocates for seniors, the uninsured and the medically underserved. CRISP is building an infrastructure to allow clinical information to move electronically among disparate health information systems. Based on the State’s health information plan, CRISP intends to provide safer, timelier, more efficient, effective, equitable, patient-centered care for all Marylanders. Citing CRISP’s efforts and the State’s commitment to building a nationally-recognized health information exchange model, David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, recently named Maryland as one of only three states eligible to move forward to begin implementing a health exchange.
The Lt. Governor leads the O’Malley-Brown administration’s efforts to improve and expand health care. Earlier this year, Brown toured hospitals, health clinics and private practices in counties across the state to assess the most pressing needs to expand health information technology. During his remarks, Brown touted Maryland’s successful efforts to expand health coverage to more than 165,000 uninsured Marylanders and remarked that federal health reform passed earlier this year will save Maryland taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars over the next ten years.