Definition

Regional Extension Center (REC)

A Regional Extension Center (REC) is an organization that has received funding under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) to assist health care providers with the selection and implementation of electronic health record (EHR) technology.

Under the HITECH Act, RECs have three specific objectives:

  • Provide training and support services to assist in EHR adoption.
  • Offer information and guidance with EHR implementation (but not to carry out such an implementation).
  • Give other technical assistance as needed.

The REC program seeks to support 100,000 primary care providers, with particular emphasis given to medical practices with fewer than 10 clinicians and clinicians who work in settings that tend to serve uninsured, underinsured, and medically underserved populations.To date, $677 million has been awarded to 62 RECs, each of which covers a distinct geographic area. 

Some RECs plan to produce a list of preferred EHR vendors toward which they will steer providers who need to implement EHR technology. The objective here is twofold -- one, to help providers narrow their choices among an estimated 300 EHR vendors, and two, to allow RECs to focus their efforts and knowledge on a small number of products.

Learn more about RECs:

Is there one near you? A list of regional extension centers in the U.S. 

What's the next step for RECs after receiving more funding? 

This was last updated in October 2010
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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