The mission of the eHealth Program is to facilitate improvements in Wisconsin's health care quality, safety, transparency, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness through statewide collection, sharing, and use of health information.
Read below to learn about the eHealth Program's role at the State and partner organizations that encourage the advanced use of health IT.
Who supports eHealth?
The Wisconsin eHealth Program is led by the eHealth and quality administrator. The eHealth and quality administrator is responsible for formulating and leading policy and technology initiatives that foster adoption of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology, secure health information exchange (HIE) at a state and national level, and related initiatives to achieve Wisconsin’s health care delivery transformation goals.
The eHealth and quality administrator also has responsibility for coordinating health IT and HIE activities across the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), with federal, other state agencies, local government agencies, and private sector organizations to achieve statewide adoption and impactful use of EHR technology and HIE in Wisconsin. The eHealth Program currently sits in the DHS Division of Medicaid Services (DMS).
The eHealth and quality administrator oversees the administration of the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program and coordinates the leveraging of the state’s purchasing power and policy levers. An example includes establishing requirements for entities reimbursed, licensed, and/or regulated by the state to participate in e-prescribing, electronics labs results delivery, or electronically sharing care summaries across transitions of care.
What is the eHealth Program?
The eHealth Program supports Wisconsin’s health IT objectives to:
- Increase member engagement in his or her care using a culturally competent approach.
- Improve health of individuals and communities.
- Advance administrative and operational efficiencies.
- Improve access to comprehensive and quality care.
To advance these objectives the eHealth Program partners with numerous federal government, health IT, quality, and provider partners to encourage the advanced use of health IT and HIE.
eHealth Program Roles and Related Initiatives
Support the administration of the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. The eHealth Program supports the administration of the Wisconsin Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, which provides incentive payments to Medicaid providers who adopt and meaningfully use EHRs, through regulatory analysis, solution management, and the processing of incentive program applications. For more information, visit the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program webpage.
Coordinate statewide technical assistance efforts to implement and use advanced health IT. Funded by the DHS Divisions of Medicaid Services (DMS) and supported by MetaStar, the eHealth Program oversees the Wisconsin Health IT Extension Program, which assists eligible Medicaid providers in Wisconsin to adopt, implement, upgrade, and meaningfully use certified EHRs. For more information, visit the Health IT Extension (link is external) webpage.
Conduct required federal strategic planning (the State Medicaid HIT Plan) and funding requests related to health IT investments. The eHealth Program develops, maintains, and reports on measurable outcome goals for achieving a mature health IT landscape. The eHealth Program requested and received Medicaid Management Information Systems federal funding to enhance information sharing and retrieval capabilities across the State and with the Medicaid enterprise. These projects leveraged WISHIN to integrate the immunization registry and Medicaid pharmacy data and create Wisconsin Medicaid health maintenance organization hospital encounter notifications. Medicaid continues to pursue Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) funded projects with WISHIN, including public health reporting and Prescription Drug Monitoring Program integration. For more information, visit the WISHIN (link is external) webpage.
Support the Public Health Meaningful Use Program and the Public Health Registration for Electronic Data Submission (PHREDS) System. The eHealth Program supports the Division of Public Health registration process for providers to submit public health data (e.g., immunization histories) using their EHRs. For more information, visit the Public Health Meaningful Use webpage.
Manage intra- and inter-departmental health IT policy initiatives that promote the adoption and use of interoperable, standards-based health IT and health information exchange, including Wisconsin Medicaid Telemedicine Policy and Prescription Drug Monitoring Program data integration.
Develop health IT strategies (policy, technology, clinical needs, and clinical transfer) that facilitate improvements in Wisconsin’s health care quality, safety, transparency, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness and help raise the maturity level of Medicaid IT architecture and operations. To reduce administrative burden and increase the efficiency of collecting and submitting clinical quality measures, the eHealth Program is examining how the reporting of measures can be aligned across initiatives. This quality reporting strategy is being developed in alignment with the Medicaid Quality Strategy update, which dictates the quality framework to be applied to all initiatives and outlines the objectives, guiding principles, and levers to be used to improve care delivery in Wisconsin. The Medicaid Quality Strategy will be reassessed regularly to ensure it aligns with the overarching goals and priorities of the DHS.
Federal Government Partners
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is a federal agency that administers the Medicare program and works in partnership with state governments to administer Medicaid. CMS is a partner in the administration and oversight of the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program through development of the federal regulations governing the program.
Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is primarily focused on coordination of nationwide efforts to implement and use health information technology and the electronic exchange of health information. ONC defines the certification criteria for certified EHRs and works closely with CMS to align these criteria with the Meaningful Use requirements.
Indian Health Service
Indian Health Service (IHS) is the principal federal health care provider and health advocate for tribal members, and its goal is to raise their health status to the highest possible level. IHS collaborates with DMS to support the efforts of the tribal health centers in the state. Their efforts include the provision of Meaningful Use consultants to the tribal health centers to encourage adoption efforts.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collaborates with its federal partners (CMS and ONC) on health IT policy development and to define criteria for Meaningful Use. Additionally, CDC works with other national partners to develop policies, guidelines, and methods and to promote a shared vision for how public health interacts with the healthcare community.
Health IT Partners and Quality Organizations
MetaStar is a quality improvement organization providing health care improvement and consulting services. MetaStar works with communities, providers, and insurers to transform care. Through the Wisconsin Health IT Extension Program, MetaStar supports eligible Medicaid providers in Wisconsin to adopt, implement, upgrade, and meaningfully use certified EHRs.
Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality
The Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ) is a multi-stakeholder, voluntary consortium of Wisconsin health care organizations that was created by key health care provider organizations in the state who realized the importance of performance measurement. Members actively use a unique set of ambulatory care measures developed by WCHQ that enable medical groups to collect and report data on all patients in their practice to drive internal improvement efforts and reach across organizations, sharing their knowledge and learning from the highest performers. WCHQ publicly reports measurement results through the online Performance & Progress Report.
Wisconsin Health Information Organization
The Wisconsin Health Information Organization (WHIO) is a voluntary initiative supported by the health care community in Wisconsin. The WHIO Datamart includes fee-for-service claims data over various time horizons, as reported by member organizations, including Medicaid and Medicare fee-for-service data. By maintaining one of the most comprehensive sources of health claims information in the U.S., WHIO provides member organizations with access to unparalleled information and analytic services to evaluate their current operations. WHIO also runs myhealthwi.org, a public reporting tool to help patients find doctors and take a more active role in their care.
Wisconsin Statewide Health Information Network
The Wisconsin Statewide Health Information Network (WISHIN) is the state-designated entity for health information exchange (HIE). In this capacity, WISHIN is responsible for governing HIE at a state level and overseeing the implementation of a statewide health information network and HIE services in Wisconsin. WISHIN’s goal is to improve patient-centered care and population health through the use and exchange of electronic health information. WISHIN is dedicated to bringing the benefits of widespread, secure, and interoperable health information technology to patients and caregivers throughout Wisconsin.
Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
The Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (RWHC) is owned and operated by 40 rural acute general medical-surgical hospitals. RWHC offers its members a wide range of shared services that meet local community health needs. In the area of health information technology, RWHC has been a leader in bringing the telecommunications and health-related applications to rural Wisconsin hospitals and other health care providers. By pooling resources, RWHC and its members have been able to create a robust telecommunications infrastructure that allows for high performance and secure connectivity. RWHC works closely with DMS to disseminate communications to member organizations.
Tribal Health Centers
Wisconsin has 11 tribal health centers (tribes) serving the tribal communities in the state through support from both IHS and DHS. DHS meets with the tribal health directors monthly to ensure close collaboration and coordination. The tribal health directors and clinic directors receive regular information on the Wisconsin Medicaid EHR Incentive Program and ongoing support from both IHS and DHS in their efforts to adopt and meaningfully use certified EHRs.
Wisconsin Dental Association
The Wisconsin Dental Association (WDA) has 3,000 members statewide and represents 85 percent of all licensed dentists and a growing number of dental hygienists in Wisconsin. WDA focuses on promoting professional excellence and quality oral health care. DMS has used WDA as a mechanism to learn more about dentists in the state, their key issues, and their proclivity to adopt certified EHRs. This collaboration has helped to inform the outreach strategy DMS has been and will be executing to promote the adoption of certified EHRs and encourage participation in the Wisconsin Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.
Wisconsin Hospital Association
The Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) is a nonprofit membership group that provides advocacy and education services to its membership, helping hospitals in the state to advance their adoption of certified EHRs. WHA also provides health care providers with the ability to access important health information to assist in care coordination efforts. WHA is a key stakeholder of the Wisconsin Medicaid EHR Incentive Program and plays an integral role in the calculation of patient volume for hospitals participating in the Wisconsin Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. This enables DMS to provide an accurate calculation to hospitals and reduce the burden on the hospitals in the application process. In addition to their role in the patient volume calculation, WHA also supports outreach and communication activities.
The Wisconsin Health Information Management Association (WHIMA) is a not-for-profit organization of 2500+ members providing leadership for the management of health records in the state of Wisconsin. WHIMA cultivates innovative concepts for improving the management of patient health record systems. WHIMA offers high-quality training in all aspects of health record management. Hundreds of health information specialists participate and attend WHIMA’s education programs annually. WHIMA’s products and services provide guidelines for confidentiality of patient information, advance workforce excellence and foster best practices in health information management. WHIMA plays a key leadership role in the effective management of health data and medical records needed to deliver quality healthcare to the public.
Wisconsin Medical Society
The Wisconsin Medical Society (WMS) is the largest physician advocacy organization in the state, with more than 12,000 members dedicated to the best interests of their patients. Through its advocacy efforts, WMS represents the unified voice of physicians on state and national health care issues and provides members with information needed to navigate health care legislation and regulatory changes. WMS also provides innovative physician education and practice management resources and accredits continuing medical education programs. WMS is a key stakeholder of the Wisconsin Medicaid EHR Incentive Program and supports outreach and communication activities.
Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association
The Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association (WPHCA) was established to advance the efforts of the 18 community health centers (CHCs) in Wisconsin by providing access to comprehensive, community-oriented primary health care services. WPHCA supports CHCs in Wisconsin through information and public education resources, government relations and advocacy work, and training and technical support. WPHCA has been instrumental in its work partnering with MetaStar to support CHCs in their adoption and meaningful use of certified EHRs.
WPHCA’s work has helped to identify issues facing CHCs in the state as they relate to the adoption and use of health IT. WPHCA has worked closely with the Wisconsin Medicaid EHR Incentive Program to collect feedback from providers as well as distribute ongoing information about the program. WPHCA has dedicated a great deal of resources to focus on integrated health services, provide enhanced support to dental providers in optimizing their use of health IT, and meet the requirements of Meaningful Use.