News Releases

EASTERN WA: Murray, Cantwell Applaud Major Health Information Technology Grant

May 04 2010

Recovery Act award will create jobs, help Inland Northwest Health Services improve care, efficiency for rural communities

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell applauded the selection of Spokane’s Inland Northwest Health Services as a pilot community for health information technology implementation. The $15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will allow Inland Northwest to focus on increasing preventive services for diabetic patients in rural areas by extending Health Information Exchange and establishing anchor institutions in close proximity to remote clinics.

“This investment in health information technology will help Spokane-area doctors reduce waste, cut costs,  and provide better care to their diabetic patients,” said Senator Patty Murray. “Building health information exchanges will reduce health care costs by eliminating the need to repeat tests, and it will save lives by helping doctors reduce the number of medical errors. This is especially important for families in rural communities who can’t afford to spend hours travelling to repeat tests, and who deserve to have their medical records wherever they are.”

“Inland Northwest Health Services has long been a leader in health information technology, and its innovative health services are absolutely critical to serving our rural communities,” Senator Maria Cantwell said. “This federal grant recognizes and helps advance our state’s efforts to fully integrate cutting-edge technology into the health care services we deliver, cutting costs and leading to a better outcome for the patient.”

The $15 million Recovery Act grant was one of 15 awards made across the country by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through their Beacon Communities program. Selected Beacon Communities will use health IT resources within their community as a foundation for bringing doctors, hospitals, community health programs, federal programs and patients together to design new ways of improving quality and efficiency to benefit patients and taxpayers.