AHRQ Releases New Guide

The new guide issued May 2013 developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) outlines a framework for primary care practices that want to connect to regional health information exchanges. “Regional Health eDecisions: A Guide to Connecting Health Information Exchange in Primary Care” establishes a blueprint assessing organizations readiness for connecting an EHR to a RHIO.

The Guide was prepared by the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and the Norman Physician Hospital Organization under Contract No. 290-07-10009-5 and funded by AHRQ.

Using insights from the Oklahoma Physicians Resource/Research Network, the guide provides a framework using information obtained from RHIOs for clinical decision making that discusses the delivery of health services.

The guide is based on a project designing, implementing, assessing, and refining the use of local HIE hubs connected to a RHIO in Oklahoma using SMRTNET (September 2007 to March 2012). The project involved six primary care practices using different installations of the same EHR. By the end of 2012, more than 70,000 patient records had been processed from these practices.

The Guide will help to:

  • Connect an EHR to a local Health Information Exchange (HIE) hub and a RHIO
  • Incorporate HIE into clinical practices for providers using EHRs
  • Connect clinical decision support to an aggregate HIE database via the Preventive Services Reminder System (PSRS)
  • Use organizational change principles to implement the connection between clinical decision support, PSRS, and HIE in provider workflows and practices


A free AHRQ sponsored webinar titled “Using Health IT to Improve Primary Care will be held August 6, 2013 from 2:30 to 4 pm EST. Presenters will provide practical insights on a few Practice-Based Research Network Health Information Technology projects that have recently ended. Also, information will be included on how to use the Guide.

To register for the Webinar or to review the transcript and presentation slides after it has ended, go to http://healthit.ahrq.gov/events.

To view the Guide by authors Dewey Scheid M.D, Brian Yeaman M.D., Zsolt Nagykaldi, PhD, and James Mold, M.D, go to http://healthit.ahrq.gov. For specific questions on the Guide, email Dr. Dewey Scheid at dewey-scheid@ouhsc.edu.

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