Rob Cunningham

Document Type

Issue Brief

Publication Date



The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act authorizes an estimated $38 billion in incentives and supports for health information technology (IT) from 2009 to 2019. After years of sluggish health IT adoption, this crisis-driven investment of public funds creates a unique opportunity for rapid diffusion of a technology that is widely expected to improve care, save money, and facilitate transformation of the troubled U.S. health system. Achieving maximal effect from the stimulus funds is nevertheless a difficult challenge. The Recovery Act strengthens the federal government’s leadership role in promoting health IT. But successful adoption and utilization across the health system will also require development of a supportive infrastructure and broad-based efforts by providers, vendors, state-based agencies, and other health system stakeholders. Optimal use of IT for health care may require extensive reengineering of medical practice and of existing systems of payment. The future course of health IT adoption will also be subject to the effects of any health care reform legislation and of technological innovation in the fast-changing world of electronic communications.


Issue brief no. 834

Open Access




To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.