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Medicine and Public Policy |

The Regional Extension Center Program: Helping Physicians Meaningfully Use Health Information Technology

Emily Maxson, BS; Sachin Jain, MD, MBA; Mat Kendall, MPH; Farzad Mostashari, MD, MPH; and David Blumenthal, MD, MPP
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

From the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC.

Potential Conflicts of Interest: Disclosures can be viewed at www.acponline.org/authors/icmje/ConflictOfInterestForms.do?msNum=M10-1579.

Requests for Single Reprints: Sachin Jain, MD, MBA, 200 Independence Avenue, Washington, DC 20201.

Current Author Addresses: Ms. Maxson: 407 North Gregson Street, Apartment 3, Durham, NC 27701.

Drs. Jain, Mostashari, and Blumenthal and Mr. Kendall: 200 Independence Avenue, Washington, DC 20201.

Author Contributions: Conception and design: E. Maxson, S. Jain, M. Kendall, F. Mostashari, D. Blumenthal.

Analysis and interpretation of the data: E. Maxson, F. Mostashari, D. Blumenthal.

Drafting of the article: E. Maxson, S. Jain.

Critical revision of the article for important intellectual content: E. Maxson, M. Kendall, F. Mostashari, D. Blumenthal.

Final approval of the article: E. Maxson, S. Jain, M. Kendall, F. Mostashari, D. Blumenthal.

Administrative, technical, or logistic support: S. Jain, F. Mostashari, D. Blumenthal.

Collection and assembly of data: E. Maxson, M. Kendall, F. Mostashari.

Ann Intern Med. 2010;153(10):666-670. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-153-10-201011160-00011
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Many physicians face financial and organizational barriers that inhibit their adoption of electronic health record (EHR) systems. The 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act included provisions to facilitate the transition from paper to electronic records, including Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments to support the adoption and meaningful use of EHR systems. It also created the Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (REC) program to ease the barriers faced by primary care physicians and rural and critical-access hospitals seeking to implement EHRs. The 60 RECs will administer individualized assistance to primary care practices and rural and critical-access hospitals as they implement new EHR systems or upgrade existing ones. In aggregate, the RECs aim to help 100 000 primary care physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners to effectively implement EHR systems and qualify for incentive payments for meaningful use.

This article describes the rationale for the REC program and describes how the 60 RECs promote the meaningful use of EHR systems.


Grahic Jump Location
Appendix Figure.
Map showing the 60 RECs in the United States.

Information about all REC programs is available at http://healthit.hhs.gov/programs/REC. REC = Regional Extension Center.

Grahic Jump Location




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