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December 2009

Is HITECH Destined to be a Cybercrime Stimulus Act?

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed into law by President Obama earlier this year, calls for a $19 billion investment into health care information technology to modernize medical practices with electronic medical records systems (EMRs). The goal is to reduce overall health care costs by luring hospitals and clinicians, which have been slow to adopt EMRs because of their high price and complexity, into this electronic realm with large financial incentives starting in 2011. Any health care provider that has not implemented an EMR by 2016 faces financial penalties through reduced Medicare fees. One of the keys in this bill to reducing the cost of health care is that physicians could exchange patient data electronically; a physician or hospital cannot obtain the government incentives without demonstrating this capability. The idea is that EMR systems would reduce the number of tests performed because data could be shared easily ...

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