White House: UCSD to get $15.3 million for health information technology project

UCSD was awarded $15.3 million in federal economic stimulus funds for a health information technology pilot project, the White House announced today.

San Diego is one of 15 “pilot communities” around the country chosen for the Beacon Community program, which seeks to expand the use of information technology in the health care industry, with the goal of providing an electronic health record for every person in the country by 2014.

The project will be conducted by a partnership of San Diego organizations, according to a UCSD press release. Those involved include the Council of Community Clinics, Family Health Centers of San Diego, The Naval Medical Center- San Diego, Rady Children’s Hospital- San Diego, San Diego County Public Health Services, San Diego Fire-Rescue/Medical Services agency, Sharp Healthcare, Scripps Health, and the VA San Diego Health Care System.

The principal investigator for the $15 million grant is Ted Chan, MD, medical director of emergency departments at UC San Diego Medical Center, Hillcrest and Thornton Hospital.

The 15 grants were announced by Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

“These pioneering communities are going to lead the way in bringing smarter, lower-cost health care to all Americans through use of electronic health records,” Biden said.

“Because of their early efforts, doctors across the country will one day be able to coordinate patient care with the stroke of a key or pull up life-saving health information instantly in an emergency — and for the residents of these communities, that future is about to become a reality,” he said.

UCSD will use its grant funding to improve the care of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease from prevention to chronic management, according to the White House.

The project will involve expanding UCSD’s pre-hospital emergency field care and electronic information transmission in an effort to improve people’s health and cut down on unnecessary testing and hospital visits.