A stimulus for the webinar industry

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a.k.a. the economic stimulus legislation, just became law, and already the webinars had started.

The eHealth Initiative held the first session in its webinar series Tuesday at 3 p.m. EST. That was perhaps an hour after President Obama signed the bill during a ceremony in Denver. eHI will repeat the overview session today at 10:30 a.m. EST and hold new online sessions on Thursday, Friday, next Monday and on Feb. 25 and 27. It’s free for eHI members and $150 for the entire series for non-members.

HIMSS at least waited for the ink to dry before starting its own webinar series. The first session, an overview, is set for Wednesday at 2 p.m. CST. (That’s 3 p.m. for those of you on the east coast who were unaware the United States had multiple time zones and noon for those of you on the west coast with similar misconceptions.) Additional events are planned for Feb. 23, March 4, 11 and 18. Each session costs $79.

HIMSS also announced plans for 10 related educational sessions at the HIMSS Annual Conference in April, right here in the Central time zone.

I’m sure others have educational programs in the works to sort through the massive legislation that will pump $19 billion of borrowed federal money into the health IT industry. Unfortunately, the legislation failed to outlaw the word “webinar.” I’ll have to call my congressman about that one. Oh wait, that was Rahm Emanuel, who’s now the White House chief of staff, so I guess I don’t have a voice in Congress at the moment. I’ll have to see if the Webster’s people can’t ban “webinar” from the English language.

At least we get a special election and not a gubernatorial appointment to fill Emanuel’s seat, the Illinois 5th District, previously held by Rod Blagojevich and, before that, Dan Rostenkowski.