In this paper, we discuss two important elements to lowering the barrier to creation of a National Health Information Network. The first element is the adoption of standards that will enable interoperability while guarantee open interfaces (and preventing vendor lock-in). The second element is the role of open source. While adoption of open standards by large EMR vendors is critically important to enterprise healthcare providers and payors, the availability of inexpensive (or free) standardized Healthcare Information Technology for small physician practices is critical. By analogy to the emergence of the World Wide Web, a framework for creating inexpensive and open source applications for physicians will be as important to realizing a National Health Information Network as availability of free browser technology was to the growth of the internet.
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