Obama pours billions into IT with recovery package

Obama's economic stimulus package, which was signed into law yesterday, will see billions of dollars poured into technology in the US.

Obama's economic stimulus package, which was signed into law yesterday, will see billions of dollars poured into technology in the US.

A significant part of the $787bn total will be spent on IT-related measures. A main beneficiary will be healthcare IT, which is set to receive around $19bn.

Obama wants to introduce electronic care records, computerising all health records in the next five years.

The project will be similar to the UK's £12bn national programme for IT, a part of which aims to automate records, which has weathered a few storms since Tony Blair first introduced the plan.

Obama said in a speech yesterday, "It is an investment that will take the long overdue step of computerising America's medical records to reduce the duplication and waste that costs billions of healthcare dollars, and medical errors that cost thousands of lives each year."

In addition, $2.5bn has been earmarked for loans for improving broadband infrastructure in the US, $200m will go into expanding public computer capacity at community colleges and public libraries, and $250m will be available in grants for innovative programmes encouraging broadband adoption.

An innovative technology loan guarantee programme, which will provide loan guarantees for renewable technologies and transmission technologies, will receive $6bn.

The US government will also allow some students to claim money for IT equipment used for studying.

A further $30bn will go towards clean energies and an upgrade of the country's electricity grid.

The US government hopes to be able to detail its economic recovery spending on its recently launched website, recovery.gov, although observers have pointed out that collecting and reporting the data will be a difficult task.

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