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Am J Manag Care. 2014 Sep;20(9):734-40.

HITECH spurs EHR vendor competition and innovation, resulting in increased adoption.

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Surescripts, 2800 Crystal Dr, Arlington, VA 22202. E-mail:


The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act was enacted to increase electronic health record (EHR) adoption by providers and hospitals. Experts expressed skepticism about whether the program would indeed hasten adoption and could be implemented in time for the initial reporting period. Could EHR vendors meet the certification requirements, and could the industry innovate to meet small-practice needs? This study, in addition to documenting increased provider adoption, provides the first evidence of increased competitiveness and innovation in the EHR industry spurred by HITECH. For example, the number of EHR vendors certified for e-prescribing with Surescripts increased from 96 to 229 over the program's first 3 years. We also find that prescribers in small practices increasingly adopted lower-cost, Web-based e-prescribing and EHR applications at significantly higher rates (15%-35%) than did large practices (3%-4%), which generally have more human and capital resources to make significant investments. These findings suggest that EHR vendors were highly responsive to HITECH requirements and have been adapting their strategies to meet nuanced market needs, providing reason to be optimistic about the Programs' future.

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