Immunization Banner

Illinois Electronic Health Records (EHR) Activities

Illinois hospitals, clinics, physicians and public health professionals have been actively pursuing various electronic solutions to ensure the efficient, effective and safe delivery of health care services. Expectedly, most of the early initiatives responded to the specific needs of the provider/organization. Early statewide efforts were spawned by the Illinois Department of Public Health’s desire to better coordinate maternal and child health services.

This paper provides a brief description of a number of interesting EHR initiatives in Illinois. It is not intended as an inventory of every EHR project in Illinois. Such an inventory poses the risk of overlooking the noteworthy efforts of many providers and organizations.

It can be safely said that hospitals throughout the state have been actively engaging in EHR projects. Seven of these facilities made the Hospital and Health Network’s annual list of the ‘"100 most wired hospitals and health systems."’ (July 2005) Hospitals on this list were judged on their use of information technology in “five key areas: business processes, customer service, safety and quality, workforce and public health and safety.”

Physician offices throughout the state are also engaged in EHR efforts. The federally funded Doctor’s Office Quality – Information Technology (DOQ-IT) program, administered by the Illinois Foundation for Quality Health Care, is helping many physicians through this process.

State EHR Activities


Data management information system developed to facilitate the integration of community maternal and child health services. Initially developed by the Illinois Department of Public Health, the system provides for integrated data sharing and support for multiple health and human services programs.

Sponsoring Organizations:  Illinois Department of Human Services and Illinois Primary Health Care Association
Location: Statewide
Category: Public health support
Started: Planning started in 1992.  System rollout in 1997.

Illinois National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (I-NEDSS)

I-NEDSS is a secure web-based application that establishes a secure and real-time communication link between hospitals, laboratories and other health care providers with state and local health department staff for the purposes of reporting and managing communicable disease information. I-NEDSS is designed to improve local health departments' abilities to identify and track reportable diseases and outbreaks, including those due to bioterrorist threats.

Sponsoring Organization:  Illinois Department of Public Health
Location: Statewide
Category: Public health support
Started: Planning started in 2001.  This assessment was completed in June 2001.

Illinois Comprehensive Automated Registry Exchange (ICARE)

Web-enabled immunization registry providing health care providers access from any PC with an Internet Browser. All immunization data will be maintained in a central database located at IDPH headquarters.

Sponsoring Organization:  Illinois Department of Public Health
Location: Statewide
Category: Public health support
Started: Planning started in 2001.  This assessment was completed in June 2001.

Tracking Our Toddlers' Shots (TOTS)

Network based immunization registry which currently houses more than 12 million immunization records. Health providers with dedicated PCs can access immunization records. The system also has voice response and fax back capabilities.

Sponsoring Organization:  Illinois Department of Public Health
Location: Statewide
Category: Public health support
Started: 2000

AHRQ - T ransforming Healthcare Quality through Health Information Technology (THQIT) Grants

In September 2004, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) awarded $139 million in contracts and grants to promote the use of health information technology (health IT) through the development of networks for sharing clinical data as well as projects for planning, implementing, and demonstrating the value of health IT. Five Illinois projects were funded. These are:

Enhancing Quality in Patient Care (EQUIP) Project

Implements an electronic health records system in a network of community health centers and develops a data warehouse to monitor, aggregate, and provide data for quality improvement.

Sponsoring Organization:   Erie Family Health Center
Location: Chicago
Category: Implementation Grants (THQIT)
Started: 2004

Linking Rural Providers to Improve Patient Care and Health

Develops a central electronic health record system that will allow sharing of health information between a hospital, medical group, county health department, and behavioral health organization for rural economically disadvantaged, ethnic/racial minority residents, the elderly, and persons with special/complex health care needs.

Sponsoring Organization:   Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital
Location: Dixon
Category: Planning Grants (THQIT)
Started: 2004

Sharing Patient Record Access in Rural Health Settings

Develops an implementation plan for an ambulatory EMR in a medically underserved region that will electronically connect physician offices, the regional hospital, ancillary services, and other community health services; identifies indicators to track measurable improvements in patient safety, quality of care, clinician and patient satisfaction, and operational efficiency.

Sponsoring Organization:   Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center
Location: Mattoon, Illinois
Category: Planning Grants (THQIT)
Started: 2004

Toward an Optimal Patient Safety Information System

Promotes and evaluates the interchange of patient safety information and the reporting of adverse events and close calls among public and private voluntary incident reporting systems being used at U.S. hospitals.

Sponsoring Organization:  Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)
Location: Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois
Category: Value Grants (THQIT)
Started: 2004

Value of Technology to Transfer Discharge Information

Assesses the value of software applications to facilitate information transfer during the high-risk transition from hospital to home at discharge and compares health information technology to usual care for benefits outcomes, adverse events, effectiveness, costs, and satisfaction among patients and physicians.

Sponsoring Organization:  Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Category: Value Grants (THQIT)
Started: 2004

2005 THQIT Grants

On October 6, 2005 AHRQ awarded more than $22.3 million to16 grantees to implement health information technology (health IT) systems to improve the safety and quality of health care. The recipients were selected from a group of AHRQ grantees who received health IT planning funds in 2004. Following is a description of the Illinois grant recipient.

Implementing an Ambulatory Electronic Medical Record and Improving Shared Access

Implements an emergency medical records system that will provide shared access to patient records across various community health care providers and incorporates electronic tools for prescription distribution and management.

Sponsoring Organization:   Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center
Location: Mattoon
Category: Implementation Grants (THQIT)
Started: 2005

Other Illinois Initiatives

Illinois Health Network

The Illinois Health Network offers a Web-based gateway solution that enables the secure exchange of health and business-related information and data. The gateway functions as a brokered peer-to-peer network, centralizing the security and communications functions while its users create and exchange files directly. Data can be stored centrally on the gateway or decentralized at the local source.

The Illinois Health Network offers the infrastructure that enables participation of Illinois' hospitals and health care professionals in the health information exchange and technology adoption movement that is underway nationwide. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities such as skilled nursing and long term care facilities, physicians and health professionals of all disciplines, ambulatory medical clinics, public and private insurers, service vendors, public health and behavioral health agencies, education providers and other key partners, regardless of location can benefit from the secure interactions supported by the network.

Sponsoring Organization:   Illinois Hospital Research and Educational Foundation, an affiliate company of the Illinois Hospital Association
Location: Statewide
Category: Provider Initiative
Started: January 2005

Northern Illinois Physicians for Connectivity (NIPFC)

This is an initiative by physicians to fulfill the goals of a RHIO. NIPFC will encourage and facilitate the use of healthcare technology amongst its members by maximizing its economy of scale. This organization will ensure the privacy and security of confidential information yet allow health information to be shared by way of a Patient Index.  Medical practices that currently are not using an EHR will benefit from electronic access to emergency room, laboratory, radiology, surgery and anesthesia notes as well as hospital generated clinical documents. Medical practices that have already embraced an EHR or Electronic prescribing program, will be able to share clinical information and/or pharmacy data electronically in real-time.  All members will benefit from a regional, team approach to improving quality of care in the community. Continued funding for NIPFC will come from provider subscription fees.

Sponsoring Organization:  Du Page Valley Physicians
Location: Du Page, Kane and Kendall counties
Category: Provider Initiative
Started: Incorporated in December 2005

KCHAIN (Kane Community Health Access Integrated Network)

Electronic health data exchange is a major component of KCHAIN’s mission to provide health care to low-income insured or underinsured Kane County residents

”Advocates” at partner health care providers electronically transmit information on eligible persons to KCHAIN. This referral process enables KCHAIN to more efficiently identify and serve clients. KCHAIN has a goal to expand their IT infrastructure to support a RHIO-type health record exchange among area providers.

It was funded primarily through a federal Healthy Communities Access Program (HCAP) grant.

Sponsoring Organization:  Partnership of health providers comprised of the 5 Kane County hospitals, federally qualified health centers, free clinics, private practitioners, and the Kane County Health Department
Location: Kane
Category: Public health support
Started: September 2004

Doctor’s Office Quality – Information Technology (DOQ-IT)

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides funding for this initiative to assist physicians adopt EHR. As the agent for CMS, the Illinois Foundation for Quality Health Care provides consultative services to physicians in assessing the need for and installation of EHR in their practices. The foundation is currently working with about 150 physician practices throughout the state.

Sponsoring Organization:   Illinois Foundation for Quality Health Care as contractor for CMS Location: Statewide
Category: Federal Initiative

Updated March 2, 2006

idph online home

Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
Questions or Comments