David Blumenthal, M.D., national coordinator for health information technology, on Feb. 12 issued the following statement following the federal government's awarding of $988 million in stimulus-funded grants to advance health information exchange (see story):
"Today we announce the first cooperative agreement awards authorized by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. It marks a major milestone in our journey towards nationwide adoption and meaningful use of health information technology (health IT). One set of awards provides $386 million to 40 States and qualified State-Designated Entities to rapidly build capacity for exchanging health information across the health care system both within and between states through the State Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program. The other awards provide $375 million to create 32 Regional Extension Centers (RECs) that will support the efforts of health professionals, starting with priority primary care providers, to become meaningful users of electronic health records (EHRs). Additional awards will be made in both programs over the coming weeks. Together, these programs will help modernize the use of health information, improving the quality and efficiency of care for all Americans.
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