Industry Concerns About Privacy Restrictions Stall Senate’s Health IT Bill

A bill aimed at pushing the health care industry toward conversion to electronic records seemed to gain new life three weeks ago, after a compromise between key senators, but now the legislation is knotted up again over the same issue that has weighed it down for years: privacy.

The bill (S 1693) would provide grants and loans to hospitals and other health providers to help them purchase what is known as health information technology, or health IT. The legislation would also require the federal government to settle on software and hardware standards for its own health functions, like Medicare, in hopes that such standard-setting would help bring the private sector along.

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