Are These the Right Programs to Support HITECH?

Carrie Vaughan, for HealthLeaders Media , December 8, 2009

I have similar concerns about the health information technology extension program. The program will allocate $598 million for 70 individual regional centers—with the average amount being about $8 million for each center—to offer technical assistance, guidance, and information on best practices to support and accelerate healthcare providers' efforts to become meaningful users of EHRs.

The concerns with this program are whether these are enough centers to adequately help all the providers who need it, whether the funding sufficient, and whether the centers will have the expertise in each of the vendor products to effectively help providers.

I believe the ONC is targeting the right areas, but with such a huge amount of investments I question whether these programs will be effective, somewhat effective, or not effective at all in supporting providers' efforts to not only adopt EHRs but use the technology in a meaningful way.

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Carrie Vaughan is a senior editor with HealthLeaders magazine. She can be reached at

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