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Health IT Funds in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Will Help Economy, Improve Healthcare

HIMSS Says Legislation Addresses Foremost Concerns of Improving Quality, Safety and Efficiency through Widespread Adoption and Appropriate Use of Electronic Health Records

CHICAGO, Feb. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In response to the President signing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law today, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) predicts the inclusion of $19.2 billion for health IT will have important economic benefits and result in improved patient care. HIMSS, representing more than 20,000 individual members - of which 73 percent work in provider settings - and 350 corporate members, believes the health IT funding is essential if we are to meet President Obama's goal of computerized health records for all Americans by 2014.

The legislation addresses the foremost reason many doctors and hospitals have not yet begun using Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems. Survey results published in the July 3, 2008, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine found that 66 percent of doctors who had not adopted an EHR system cited cost as the biggest barrier to adoption. Through the legislation, doctors and hospitals are now eligible for incentive payments through Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement systems, rewarding them for demonstrating a "meaningful use" of certified EHR technology.

Among the benefits to the economy will be the creation of an expected hundreds of thousands of jobs and annual healthcare cost savings of as much as $77 billion. Potential benefits to patients and doctors include fewer medical errors and reduced administrative delays.

In drafting this legislation, policy-makers demonstrated that they are listening to Americans' views on health IT. The legislation allows the Secretary of Health & Human Services to utilize processes American taxpayers already financially supported under the second Bush Administration. Also, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 includes many recommendations made by more than 100 HIMSS members in the A Call for Action: Enabling Healthcare Reform Using Information Technology report, which HIMSS released in December 2008.

In the coming weeks, HIMSS will offer several education opportunities for its members on the implications and opportunities of this legislation, including a five-part Webinar series and 10 education sessions focused on this topic at the 2009 Annual HIMSS Conference & Exhibition in Chicago. For more information, visit

To view an extended version of this news release, including source information for research and statistics, visit

SOURCE Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
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