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The health IT evolution: For providers, high cost and high priority

As chief financial officer for the University of Maryland Medical System, Henry Franey oversees the pocketbooks for UMMS’ 12 hospitals. Even with an operating budget of about $3 billion, UMMS has wrestled with the steep costs of implementing information technology products and integrating them into clinical activities, Franey said. But as health IT rapidly permeates the health care industry, he said, Maryland’s hospitals — and other providers across the country — have little choice but to make the investment.

Major health care institutions have been chin-deep in IT investments for about a decade. Over the past few years, physicians’ offices and community hospitals have been following suit, implementing systems like Electronic Health Records, which replace paper copies of patient records.

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