DC Consumer Rights Coalition
District of Columbia
Announcement of Public Workshop, "Examining Health Care Competition" ("Health Care Workshop") Project No. P13-1207
The purpose of the attached comment letter of the DC Consumer Rights Coalition is to highlight competition-related policy issues likely to arise in emerging technology markets that are subject to "network" effects, such as the growing markets for Health Information Technology ("HIT") products, including Electronic Health Records ("EHR") products. We believe that the FTC should be cognizant of the potential danger to competition should healthcare providers adopt software and other technology that incorporates exclusionary proprietary standards. The danger is that the company that offers such technology may use it to disadvantage competitors by denying them access to the proprietary standards. Such problematic situations have arisen in other markets in the past, involving, for example, AT&T, IBM, and, more recently, Microsoft. Antitrust issues raised by such exclusionary conduct may be addressed through antitrust enforcement after the fact, of course. But we believe that a preferable approach is proactive government engagement that avoids the antitrust problem by facilitating and encouraging interoperability among products of competitors in the HIT markets.