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Biden touts stimulus law's IT benefits


By Jennifer Lubell
Posted: August 24, 2010 - 12:15 pm ET
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Recovery Act investments in health information technology are making headway in improving patient care and reducing medical errors, according to a new White House report (PDF).

The report, unveiled by Vice President Joe Biden in Washington Tuesday, details the effects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which funneled more than $100 billion to various programs, including $20 billion in healthcare information technology.

“Approximately $2 billion is being spent largely to support ready hospitals, providers, states and other parties to adopt health IT," the report states. "The remaining funds will be used to incentivize physicians and providers to adopt health IT in 2011 and beyond.”

Expanding adoption of broadband, which received a $6.9 billion boost under the stimulus law, will enable the adoption of electronic health-record systems, e-prescribing, and e-care, the report stated. The Obama administration projects that e-prescribing technology alone will help prevent 10 million outpatient medication errors by 2013.

Broadband also allows for round-the-clock remote monitoring via wireless aids such as digital cameras and text messaging and telemonitoring services. The Veterans Affairs Department, for example, "has dramatically decreased unnecessary hospitalizations through a wide-ranging effort to help veterans manage chronic conditions at home" by using remote monitoring tools, according to the report.

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