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Nicholas Sandercock of Gross McGinley.

Electronic health records (EHR) are as common in the modern health care landscape as needles and syringes. This is thanks in large part to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), created in 2009. HITECH pressured providers with a scheme of financial incentives and penalties to individually adopt EHR systems with “meaningful use” requirements. HITECH’s definition of meaningful use focused on the functionality of EHR systems inside the four walls of the provider and has done nothing to regulate the landscape of the emerging industry or the companies that would come to dominate it. Consequently, HITECH’s meaningful use provisions do not encourage interoperability across platforms, nor have they met provider expectation of reduced exposure to malpractice liability. Now, 10 years since HITECH initially incentivized the health care industry to adopt EHR and meaningful use of health information technology (HIT), the question must be asked: is additional regulation of the HER/HIT industry necessary to achieve truly meaningful use and circumvent the creation of an EHR monoculture?

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