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U.S. hands out technology grants for healthcare.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials recently announced nearly $140 million in grants to promote the use of information technology, develop statewide and regional networks, and encourage collaboration in advancing the adoption of electronic health records.

According to USA Today, more than 100 communities, hospitals, healthcare providers, and healthcare systems in 38 states will receive $96 million over three years--including $41 million in the first year--toward developing and using IT for health care. Awards will be focused on small and rural hospitals and communities. Five states--Colorado, Indiana, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Utah--will receive a total of $25 million over five years to develop secure statewide networks so private patient medical information can be accessed.

The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago was awarded a two-year, $18.5 million contract to create a National Health Information Technology Resource Center that will provide technical assistance, tools, and a best-practices repository. The center also would provide a focus for collaboration to grantees and other federal partners.

Last summer, HHS officials unveiled a 10-year national healthcare information infrastructure plan, Decade of Health Information Technology, to transform the industry from a paper-based system to an electronic one and lower healthcare costs. According to federal statistics, an interoperable health IT infrastructure would improve care and reduce medical errors, which result in as many as 98,000 deaths annually. HHS predicts that electronic health records potentially could save between $78 billion and $112 billion a year by reducing tests and improving administrative procedures.

Currently, only 13 percent of the nation's 4,000-plus hospitals use electronic records, and 14 to 28 percent of the 853,000 U.S. physicians are wired, according to HHS.
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Title Annotation:Up front: news, trends & analysis
Author:Swartz, Nikki
Publication:Information Management Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2005
Words:283
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