Tulsa, OK – Vice President Biden and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announce the selection of 15 communities across the country to serve as pilot communities for eventual wide-scale use of health information technology through the Beacon Community program. Tulsa is one of the selected communities. The $220 million in Recovery Act awards will not only help achieve meaningful and measurable improvements in health care quality, safety and efficiency in the selected communities, but also help lay the groundwork for an emerging health IT industry that is expected to support tens of thousands of jobs.
In Tulsa, a community dealing with an epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes that has the highest rate of cardiovascular disease deaths in the nation, the award will help 1,600 physicians and other providers participate in a new community-wide health information system that will help them better monitor and improve care transitions as patients move from one care setting to another. The award is expected to help increase appropriate referrals for cancer screenings, increase access to care for patients with diabetes with telemedicine, and reduce preventable hospitalizations and emergency department visits by 10 percent for conditions that could be better handled in clinical settings, yielding a potential cost savings of $11M per year in the Tulsa area for taxpayers and patients.