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HIMSS 2011 Conference – early data on Regional Extension Centers

OVP Staff
March 13, 2011

RECs (Regional Extension Centers) were one of the hot topics at this year’s conference.  The mission of the RECs is to help physicians achieve meaningful use with EHRs (Electronic Health Records).  RECs are funded through the HITECH Act and were first created about 12 months ago.  Farzad Mostashari participated on a panel about ARRA and meaningful use.  In addition to winning the Longest Title Award (Deputy National Coordinator for Programs and Policy, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology), he relayed some interesting statistics:  in less than 12 months, 62 RECs have enrolled 46k providers who care for 70M patients.  I was pleasantly surprised by these stats; sure, enrolling a physician is a lot different than a physician achieving meaningful use (and Farzad did not provide statistics on how many of the 46k providers have achieved meaningful use), but it’s a good start.  Hopefully this encouraging initial traction in enrollments translates to success throughout the process.

Certainly the different RECs have varied levels of effectiveness, and people in healthcare have mixed reviews of their performance to date.  But hopefully there are enough RECs providing the type of practical, hands-on and operational assistance that physicians need to make the program a success.  And as physicians achieve meaningful use, they will drive more needs (and investment opportunities) in areas such as interoperability, data extraction, and business intelligence, etc.  As patients and investors, we are rooting for RECs.

OVP Staff