Among the many goodies doled out by last year's stimulus package were some $2 billion for innovative health IT programs at the state and local level.
In a New England Journal of Medicine article, Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information David Blumenthal provides a handy round-up of the funding available for state and local governments.
It's hard to overstate the potential significance of these programs. The regional extension centers funded by Blumenthal's office have the potential to spark needed gains in provider productivity, much as agricultural extension agents did a century ago.
(If you haven't read New Yorker correspondent (and Harvard surgeon) Atul Gawande's much-discussed article on that subject, do so now.)
The Office of the National Coordinator's Beacon Communities grants offer local communities a great opportunity to get federal support for local innovation.
So for everyone who's just opening their email at this the (real) beginning of the new year, go out and get those grants!