Small, Rural Company Center Stage in Data Exchange

George Lauer | California Healthline | February 14, 2011

...Ross is project manager for Redwood MedNet, a small company in rural Mendocino County about to launch California's first contribution to the national Direct Project for electronic health information exchange. Involved since the project began March 1, 2010, Ross said the Direct Project -- an updated, distilled version of the Nationwide Health Information Network -- offered his company a rare chance to participate with the big guys.

The Direct Project's primary goal is to help health care providers with limited resources meet meaningful use criteria. Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

"This was a unique opportunity," Ross said. "This was not a standard procurement project by the government. Instead of procuring services or goods in the standard way, this project invited the private sector to participate on their own dime. This was essentially a community improvement project and you had to donate what you develop as community intellectual property."