Changes to the healthcare insurance status quo won and lost elections, revised and created business plans, and kept harried CIOs and their overworked staffs up at night. But it also generated opportunities for IT professionals in the healthcare industry to save their organizations time and money, reshape burdensome workflows, and improve patient care. When he was elected, President Barack Obama pledged to change healthcare insurance -- and this year marked months of debate and political hijinks
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The Regional Extension Center Program, funded by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), was designed to create and implement training and best practices centers around the country in an effort to help healthcare providers implement mandated electronic medical records and other healthcare IT systems. Under the program, $375 million went to an initial 32 non-profit organizations to support the development of regional extension centers (RECs), which are expected to deliver outreach and support services to at least 100,000 primary care providers and hospitals within two years. "RECs are a vital part of our overall efforts to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare through the effective use of health IT," Dr. David Blumenthal, national coordinator for health information technology, said in a statement.