At a recent HIMSS11 session on accountable care organizations packed with provider I.T. execs, the speaker asked how many were planning to be part of an ACO. Nearly all raised their hands.

If the health reform law survives its legal challenges, they'll soon have the opportunity. Medicaid and Medicare demonstration programs authorized in the law start in 2012 and several private insurers are getting ready to jump in. That said, a survey of the existing health care information technology landscape suggests many providers remain years away from having the capabilities to operate as ACOs.

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