Health Policy

Obama’s stimulus to health technology and job training

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Barack Obama’s Cabinet has announced n $1 billion in grants to increase the use of health information technology, pushing for healthcare overhaul and job creation. The money will be used to help make healthcare information technology available to over 100,000 hospitals and primary care physicians by 2014 and train thousands of people for careers in healthcare and information technology. More than $750 million will be provided in awards for states and healthcare providers and more than $225 million will be used to train 15,000 people in job skills needed to support careers in healthcare, information technology and other high growth fields. The White House said grant recipients had identified about 10,000 openings for skilled workers likely to become available within the next two years.

Obama’s push to overhaul the $2.5 billion U.S. healthcare system has foundered since Democrats lost a crucial seat, and effective control, in the U.S. Senate in a special election in Massachusetts last month. Boosting the use of information technology in healthcare can help control skyrocketing costs, a central theme of the health overhaul push. The push for wider use of technology in healthcare could affect a range of companies, including Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), Google Inc (GOOG.O), McKesson Corp (MCK.N) and Allscripts Misys Healthcare Solutions Inc (MDRX.O). (Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, editing by Anthony Boadle)

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