HITECH Act’s Impact in 3 Simple Phrases

The HITECH Act and EHR stimulus has become one of the most popular topics on this blog (for obvious reasons). Today I came across someone who did a good job summing up much of the HITECH act in 3 simple phrases (a few minor modifications on my part):

  1. HITECH Provides Direct, Massive Funding To EHRs [this is EHR vendors]
  2. HITECH Requirements for Certification of EHRs Limit Competition and New Entrants
  3. HITECH “Promises” to Enfranchise Existing Groups [HITSP and CCHIT] into the Federal Hierarchy

You can read the full description of these 3 points here. I don’t quite understand the cat and dog stuff the post talks about, but the 3 items above are dead on. The post also agrees with me that CCHIT Certification excludes open source EHR software.

These 3 points also reminds me of my list of HITECH Act winners. I wonder what would need to change to add patients and doctors to that list of winners.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • The orignial poster doesn’t seem to grasp the most basic concept behind the stimulus money. The bulk of it will flow through CMS in the form of bonuses in almost exactly the same way that providers are rewarded for e-prescribing.

    The policy and standards committees are still being stood up and it is likely that the National eHealth Collaborative will play a major role on one of this committees and will help advise HHS and ONC. Not only aren’t their any major vendors on their board the vendors complaing loudly when they were blocked from serving on the board. Do you feel that Wal-mart and providers are really advocating for the old school vendors? The bottom line is that companies like Epic and Cerner were able to control the market becuase they met their customers (the hospitals) needs and they DON”T want to share patient data.

    The game has changed. This has nothing to do with cats or dogs as the new player is the purchasers (government, business and consumers). Other players like Microsoft and Google are also not in this game (gerbils) as their model is based on the premise that your dotor has an EMR that you can import into your PHR. Otherwise it is like having quicken without your bank being online.

    Read David Blumenthalls articles on the role of government in health care and it is very clear that it only steps in when there is a failure on the part of the private sector.

    Do you honestly think that a vendor like Epic that doesn’t currently let clients with the same software in the same city (Kaiser, Palo Alto Medical and Stanford) exchange records will really be the ones to provide interoperability going forward?

  • 1) Direct payments to providers and hospitals – the first ones to meet the qualificiations will be Kaiser and it’s system is already up and running.
    2) Meaningful use will be determined and certification is necessary to ensure that we don’t subsidize firms that aren’t meeting the needs of payers
    3) HITSP and CCHIT were stood up by previous administrations and we are seeing public functions pulled back in-house. EX) NEHC will become the standards of policy commitee.

  • My point is that it seems to me that HITECH act seems to be leading towards an entrenchment of the old and unusable EHR vendors. Take a look at the list of CCHIT certified EHR and you’ll see what I mean. They aren’t all unusable, but many of them are.

    eCW is a middle ground vendor in my book. Somewhere between an old school vendor and a lean development machine. So, I guess I’m on the fence if Walmart is supporting an old EHR or not.

    I do agree that government should create some incentives for communicating across EHR systems, because the market will definitely fail to do this. There’s just no good economic reason to do it, so government might be the only one that can create the incentives for this to happen.

    It will be interesting to see what really comes out when they define “meaningful use” and “certified EHR.”

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