HSSC Hosts Statewide E-Health Summit Series

May 8, 2009

With billions of stimulus dollars in play through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), states are lining up for a share. However, it is not a simple handout. To qualify, states must prove the funding will be used to transform health, with emphasis on improving healthcare quality, patient safety, clinical effectiveness, and reducing costs. Having the necessary health information technology system in place is crucial to receiving federal funds.

To ensure South Carolina is positioned to secure and effectively utilize ARRA funds, Health Sciences South Carolina (HSSC) and the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SC DHHS) initiated a series of e-Health Summits beginning in May 2009. The intent is to bring all public and private stakeholders together to develop a strategy for creating, funding, governing, and ultimately sustaining a statewide health information technology system that will support clinical care and research.The complexity of the issues, the huge scope of creating a statewide system, and the aggressive timelines set by the federal government for grant applications and implementation necessitated a highly coordinated, collaborative approach from South Carolina’s healthcare community.

HSSC worked hand-in-glove with SC DHHS in securing speakers and venues to maximize the value of the events to attendees. The e-Health Summits were provided free of charge to attendees, with the exception of a lunch fee, to ensure broad attendance. Everyone was encouraged to participate openly in the e-Health Summits and in the development of the strategic plan that will deliver the greatest return for South Carolina’s citizens, healthcare providers and researchers.

HSSC has a strong interest in the success of the e-Health Summits in facilitating the development of a single strategic plan for South Carolina. A statewide health information  system will support medical research and clinical trials, dovetailing with the research-focused information technology infrastructure currently under construction. It will make HSSC and its partners far more competitive when pursuing federal funds, non-profit grants and private investments. It supports HSSC’s various healthcare quality and patient safety initiatives. Finally, a robust health information technology system, will help all of South Carolina’s healthcare providers deliver safer, better, more affordable healthcare.