Health Center Controlled Network

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Health Center Controlled Network (HCCN)

Conceived of in 1994, the HCCN grant program allows three or more collaborating organizations to create, develop, and control electronic networks which are maintained by the U.S. government's Health Resources and Services Administration supported health centers collaborating in the network. These networks minimize costs and maximize services for medically underserved populations. In other words, a HCCN is a network of safety-net or community based health centers which join together in a network to share services, costs, and even employees. The members within a HCCN can be located in the same region, all the way across the country, or somewhere anywhere in between. Typically, these types of centers would have a difficult time being able to fund an electronic health records (EHR) system, or other health information technology solutions, within their agency. By joining a network, the cost-sharing between multiple health centers makes EHR systems more affordable. Some of the challenges safety-net clinics face is in providing a wider-array of services to the clients they see, including dental services and mental health and addition services. In addition to having to provide a greater number of services than most ambulatory health care clinics and because much of the funding of safety-net clinics come from the government, there are different reporting requirements. With the diverse services and reports required of safety-net clinics, off-the-shelf EHR systems typically do not meet their needs; but, customizable EHR systems can, though at a much higher cost. In joining a HCCN, a safety-net clinic can get the technology and resources they need at a shared cost.

For more information and a specific example of a successful HCCN see: OCHIN

For more background information see:

Health Center Controlled Networks (n.d.)

Health Center Controlled Networks (April, 2007)

Moiduddin, A. & Gaylin, D.S. (2007). Health information technology adoption among health centers: A digital divide in the making?

Submitted by (Taylor Doren)