Taking advantage of the relaxed Stark rules and subsidizing the purchase of electronic health records technology may seem enticing to hospital executives. But as one speaker at the HIMSS 2010 Conference pointed out, it is a journey health systems must take with caution.

"Do you have the fortitude to become a vendor?" asked Elise Spoto, director of information technologies and physician practice solutions, at Sentara Healthcare. Spoto described how Sentara is taking advantage of the Stark exception by offering to host an ambulatory EHR system for physicians.

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