Focus Policy Blog


New IT Platform Aims to Reduce Health Disparity in American Indian and Alaska Natives

Varuous research studies have shown that American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) have worse health outcomes compared to other Americans. A new system of storing electronic health records  (EHR) may help reduce the disparity observed in this community. This new portal will help:

  • Compartmentalize multiple patient health records into one central portal.
  • Directly transmit these records for public health surveillance reports and disease tracking.
  • Have overall impact on quality and accessibility of care to this vulnerable population.

The National Indian Board Regional Extension Center (NIB REC) is working in conjunction with the Indian Health Service (IHS) to help expedite the adoption of the 2014 Certified Resource and Patient Management System (RPMS). This system will allow for the centralization of medical records of about two million AI/AN living in about 35 states across the country. So far, about 1,100 providers have received over $25M in funds from Medicaid to incentivize the adoption of this new portal. The hope is that this will pave the way for better access to care and even better health outcomes in the AI/AN community.

Adedotun Ogunbajo, Joint Center Graduate Scholar, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health