Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Finance Committee, has sent a letter to 31 hospitals asking about their experiences while implementing the health information technology provisions under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Grassley has been overseeing implementation of the ARRA program for several months. He has heard concerns from hospitals about the quality and usability of electronic health records software, and frustration with vendors or hospital administrators to resolve problems. He also has heard of "gag orders" in vendor contracts that prohibit customers from discussing product concerns outside of their organization. Grassley last fall sent letters to 10 vendors and is reviewing their responses. The vendors were: 3M Health, Allscripts, Cerner, Cognizant, Computer Sciences Corp., Eclipsys, Epic, McKesson, Perot Systems and Philips Healthcare.

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