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The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH Act), created by ARRA, creates a Health Information Technology Extension Program.  The extension program consists of Health Information Technology Regional Extension Centers (RECs) and a nationwide Health Information Technology Research Center (HITRC).

The HITRC is tasked with gathering information on effective practices and facilitating the RECs in working with one another, and with germane stakeholders to identify and share best practices in EHR adoption, successful use, and provider support.

The RECs will support and provide health care providers assistance to help them quickly become proficient and meaningful end users of electronic health records (EHRs).  RECs are intended to ensure that primary care clinicians get the necessary assistance they need to learn about and use EHRs.

RECs are charged with these goals:

  • Present training and support services to assist doctors and other providers in adopting EHRs
  • Provide information and guidance to help with EHR implementation
  • Offer technical assistance as needed

The goal of the program is to supply outreach and support services to a minimum of 100,000 priority primary care providers within the next 24 months.

During the week of July 10th, 2010 the REC announced that it has selected Allscripts, eClinicalWorks, EHS, eMDs, Greenway and McKesson as the preferred EHR vendors for physician practices in the state.  The REC actively conducted a four month evaluation process of over 200 Electronic Health Record vendors and named the final six.

There are 60 RECs established in the country.  (many states have only one for the entire state).  These RECs are expected to educate 100,000 physicians to become "meaningful users" of an EHR.  The RECs get roughly $5,000 of funding for each physician that actually signs up for assistance in selecting and implementing an EHR.

The RECs must target offices with ten or fewer primary care physicians.  Only six of the 60 RECs have announced preferred lists at this time.  Recommendations are expected to be announced in July and August, 2010.  The physician count listed in the table below indicates the number of physicians targeted within each geographic area by the REC.

Go Here for more information about Colorado's progress on REC .

REC Physicians Preferred EHR Vendors
Alaska 700 eMDs and Greenway
Iowa 1,200 Allscripts, eClinicalWorks, EHS, eMDs, Greenway and McKesson
NYC 5,000 eClinicalWorks, Greenway and MDLand
New York 5,000 eClinicalWorks, Eclipsys, Greenway, NextGen (Quality Systems) and Sage
Vermont 1,200 Allscripts, PRISM (Fletcher Allen) and Athenahealth
Virginia 2,300 Allscripts, Athenahealth and MDLand


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