Beacon Nation FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Beacon Nation Project?
A: The Beacon Nation project, funded by the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and supported by the Research Corporation of the University of Hawai‘i, promotes innovation in health IT by gathering and disseminating information from the Beacon Communities about using successful health IT strategies to improve population health, improve care quality, and reduce cost. These lessons learned will be included in Learning Guides, each of which will provide actionable information about a specific technology-enabled solution that can be adapted for use by Innovation Partners and others seeking to use technology to drive better health, better care, and lower cost through the use of health IT. This project builds upon the Beacon Community Program, funded by the HHS Office of the Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), by connecting communities investing in health and health IT and expanding their learning network.

Q: Who is the Research Corporation of the University of Hawai‘i?
A: RCUH is a State of Hawai‘i agency attached to the University of Hawai‘i for administrative purposes. The fundamental mission of RCUH is to support the research and training programs of the University of Hawai‘i and to enhance research, development, and training in Hawai‘i. The Hawai‘i Island Beacon Community is administratively supported by RCUH.

Q: What is the Beacon Community Program?
A: The Beacon Community Program is a federally funded project to increase the quality, efficiency and sustainability of health care through the use of health information technology (health IT). The Beacon Community Program demonstrates how health IT investments and Meaningful Use of electronic health records (EHR) advance the vision of patient-centered care, while achieving the three-part aim of better health, better care at lower cost. The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) provided $250 million over three years to 17 selected communities throughout the United States that have already made inroads in the development of secure, private, and accurate systems of EHR adoption and health information exchange. Its work is a significant part of a larger effort to modernize the nation’s health care. Each of the 17 Beacon Communities is building and strengthening local health IT infrastructure, testing innovative approaches for using connected technology to improve care delivery and making measurable improvements that benefit both individual and population health. Through those efforts, each community is a model of change that can instruct the work of other cities, counties and regions. And as the nation transforms the way it pays for health care, the Beacon program’s achievements will help show all communities how to meet the challenge and succeed.

Q: What is a Learning Guide?
A Learning Guide is a common set of materials describing a promising IT-enabled intervention that can be deployed in a community to accelerate change. The Beacon Nation project uses insight from existing Beacon Communities to create Learning Guides that are engaging and relevant to a variety of stakeholders investing in health IT to drive improvement. Learning Guides will provide actionable information about a specific technology-enabled solution that can be adapted for use by Innovation Partners.

Q. Who can use a Learning Guide?
The Innovation Partners have already made a commitment to support and implement the Learning Guides, but the Learning Guides can be used by anyone— a single practice, a community health alliance, a hospital system, or even a state.

Q: What is an Innovation Partner?
Innovation Partners are organizations or networks committed to developing projects and initiatives that align with Learning Guides themes. Beacon Nation engages Innovation Partners to implement the Learning Guides to drive better health, better care, and lower cost through the use of health IT. Innovation Partners will be able to apply the Learning Guides to their own complex and vibrant health care environments. Once engaged, the Innovation Partners join a learning network with existing Beacon Communities and each other to share best practices and support the implementation of the Learning Guides.

Q:  How do I become an Innovation Partner?
Innovation Partners are identified based upon criteria that includes the community’s existing commitment to health IT, their framework of collaboration, and a demonstrated readiness to implement innovative health IT projects.
We welcome self nominations for Innovation Partners. We encourage your organization or community to contact our team if you are interested in becoming an Innovation Partner.
Please contact for more information.

Q: Where are the Innovation Partners?
Current innovation partners include Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY, HealthLINC in Bloomington, IN and New York Hospital Queens in Queens, NY.

Q: What is the future of Beacon Nation?
The Beacon Nation project will continue to produce Learning Guides and engage new Innovation Partners through September 2013. As the number of communities grows, the Beacon Nation project will be a catalyst for continued innovation in health IT on a national level. The Learning Guides developed through this project will continue to be available through the website.