In the spring of 2009, during the run-up to the launch of his meaningful use program, President Obama spoke at a health summit in which he touted the electronic health record as a financial panacea.

National adoption would safeguard against medical errors, improve preventive care and save $80 billion annually, he said, citing a widely quoted RAND Corp. analysis from 2005. For many in the industry, however, the claims of widespread savings from EHR deployments are overblown. It's an exaggeration rooted in the paucity of meaningful studies, the bias of I.T. proponents and the vested interest of software companies.

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