Will health IT go to the usual suspects?

Does the HITECH Act mean IBM and Microsoft will dominate health IT, and that small practices are doomed?

If you went to a recent HIMSS show you saw huge booths from firms which specialize in health IT, from Cerner to McKesson to GE.

The biggest players in the general health IT space, like Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and Microsoft, are relatively minor players at HIMSS.

The New York Times wrote today that this is going to change. Quoting Leonard Fuld, a "competitive intelligence" analyst who recently war gamed the coming market war, the government's health reform efforts will not only consolidate health IT but the whole industry,

Fuld said solo medical practitioners and small practices will also consolidate in order to avoid the hassles of the HITECH Act. He called this an "unintended consequence" of the Act.

Maybe. Or maybe this is just a play to get doctors more involved in trying to scuttle the health reform effort now underway in Washington. Tell someone they're doomed to lose their independence and you are bound to get their attention.

But what do you think? Does the HITECH Act mean IBM and Microsoft will dominate health IT, and that small practices are doomed?