Federal Stimulus Billions to Boost Health IT

Photo: dailytech.com
Photo: dailytech.com

Earlier this week, Vice President Joe Biden unveiled a new White House report detailing how last year’s economic stimulus package is pushing advancement in health IT by funneling billions of dollars to help hospitals, healthcare providers, states and other parties adopt health IT programs.

Overall, health IT is getting $20 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Approximately $18 billion of the ARRA funds will be used incentivize physicians and providers to adopt health IT in 2011 and beyond.

Of the $2 billion in upfront health IT spending, approximately $250 million is dedicated to the Beacon Community Program to demonstrate how health IT can change the ways communities manage health and unlock previously unrealized health-outcome benefits, the report said.

Another goal of ARRA is to expand broadband access, allowing for the implementation of electronic health record systems and e-prescribing. The act provides $6.9 billion to expand high-speed Internet access and adoption, and more than $2.5 billion of this investment has already gone to infrastructure projects that help bring broadband access to rural and remote communities in the United States.

The remaining $4.4 billion has funded infrastructure projects that benefit anchor-community institutions, public-safety broadband networks, state broadband-mapping and planning efforts, public computing centers, and sustainable broadband adoption, the report said.

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One comment

  1. Although EHR requires some level of higher speed access if it is storing medical images, the question arises as to what percentage of this access is going to actually serve the medical community. Small, regional health centers aren’t necessarily going to require significant bandwidth in order to use EHRs so the value of such projects seems questionable in some respects.

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