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$5.9 Million Awarded to Illinois for Health IT Innovation 


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $5.9 million to a University of Chicago Medicine-led program called CommunityRx, a system to be managed by the South Side Health and Vitality Studies. The project was among the 26 programs selected nationwide -- and the only one in Illinois -- to receive part of the $122.6 million in federal Health Care Innovation awards, made possible by the Affordable Care Act. CHITREC, a Regional Extension Center of the Illinois Health Information Exchange is a key health IT partner in this program.

The goal of the CommunityRx program is to set up a real-time, automated system that will link a patient with up-to-date information about community-based services and resources. CommunityRx will include a continuously updated electronic database of community health resources that will connect to the electronic health records of local safety net providers.

The program is expected to serve approximately 200,000 beneficiaries of the South Side, many of whom are covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan. In real time, the system will process patient data and print out a "Health.eRx" for the patient, including referrals to community resources relevant to the patient's condition and health status.

 “This project recognizes the importance of community in driving improved health outcomes, a lesson I learned from one of the patients in my own clinical practice” said Abel Kho MD, MS, assistant professor of medicine at the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine and the co-executive director at CHITREC. “As an organization supporting effective use of electronic health records throughout the Chicago community, we are excited to partner with U of C to help connect patients and providers with the most relevant community resources.”

Read the full press release here.