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As the author writes this column, President Obama is preparing to sign the $787 billion economic stimulus package. The package includes just over $19 billion to support the implementation of electronic health records (EHRs) -- a significant portion of the $50 billion, five-year EHR investment pledge that the president made during his campaign. A recent study of health IT use at a group of Texas hospitals showed that use of automated notes and records, test results, order entry, and decision support lowered rates of inpatient mortality and resulted in fewer complications, lowered costs, and reduced lengths of stay across a range of medical conditions.

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