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The Bush administration plans to restore $50 million to the 2005 budget to back computerized health records. The money will be allocated to the office of the administration's national health information technology coordinator, David J. Brailer, MD. The funds will be used to pay for pilot programs that showcase the benefits of using electronic records, to create technology standards for sharing health information while protecting patient privacy, and to evaluate policies to encourage investment.
Medical specialists have said that shifting to electronic health records nationally will require billions of dollars and several years. Government funding for health information technology projects and research is a crucial step in speeding up the transition.
Congress originally deleted the $50 million for Dr. Brailer's office in November 2004 as one of the many cuts to try to reduce the federal deficit. Congress will have to approve the funds being earmarked again for Dr. Brailer's office, but administration officials are confident that it will happen.