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Online health data in remission

Washington Post, February 17, 2009

The $19 billion in Congress's economic stimulus package to bring America's healthcare records into the electronic age is an opportunity for information technology firms seeking to build market share in a still-young industry. Although the federal government set a goal five years ago of creating an electronic health record for every American by 2014, the effort has lagged. Roadblocks include concerns over lack of universal protocols for collecting data as well as rules that establish how, with whom and under what circumstances the data can be shared. Many healthcare providers fear liability if private information gets into the wrong hands. Embedded in all these issues is the cost, an estimated $150 billion, which has proven to be a significant barrier to that 2014 target.