The Benefits Of Health Information Technology

The report, Costs and Benefits of Health Information Technology, is a synthesis of studies that have examined the impact on the quality of healthcare IT, as well as the costs and organizational changes required to implement healthcare IT systems. This report provides an overview of the scientific data on the implementation of HEALTHCARE IT to date, as documented in studies published up to 2003. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality released a report today recognizing that while health information technology has been shown to improve the quality of care for patients, most healthcare providers need more information on how to successfully implement these technologies. AHRQ is helping to close this gap with findings from more than 100 projects across the country. Patients also benefit from mobile technology in healthcare because they have more access to their medical information. Many healthcare systems have portals that patients can access to view details about their diagnoses, prescription drugs, and future appointments.

The U.S. health care system is at risk due to increased demand, rising costs, inconsistent and poor quality of care, and inefficient and poorly coordinated health care systems. There is evidence that health information technology can improve the efficiency, cost-effectiveness, quality and safety of healthcare by making best practice guidelines and evidence databases immediately available to clinicians and by making automated patient records available in a healthcare network. However, much of the evidence is based on a small number of systems developed in academic medical centers, and little is known about the organizational changes, cost, and time required for community practices to successfully implement out-of-the-box systems. An unprecedented federal effort is underway to drive the adoption of electronic medical records and drive innovation in health care. We reviewed recent literature on health information technology to determine its effect on outcomes, including quality, efficiency and supplier satisfaction.

Moreover, because the vast majority of outpatient practices consist of fewer than ten providers, many of whom have no infrastructure and technical resources, it is unclear whether a broad implementation of EHRs in this environment will be feasible. While EHR systems can be essential for improving the efficiency and quality of healthcare, implementing an EHR system requires significant capital investment and organizational change. Therefore, many healthcare organizations are looking for evidence from previously implemented systems about the costs and benefits of EHR adoption to better inform decisions about the optimal timing and strategy for implementation. For the 103 hypothesis test studies that used a different design than a randomized or controlled clinical trial, 45 reported cost data.

In a large HMO with 13 outpatient care locations in Ohio, a homegrown outpatient EHR was estimated to have a system development cost of $10 million and additional annual costs of $630,000 for printing, networking, memory and license renewals.53, 54 The EHR system was routinely used by 220 physicians and 110 Allied health professionals. Implemented a meeting system that collected and presented elements of medical data such as diagnoses, allergies, prescription drugs, immunizations, vital signs, and smoking status at the time of an encounter. The system also generated medical reminders for compliance with guidelines and patient reminders for preventive services and linked to centralized clinical data on the mainframe, such as laboratory results, radiology reports, emergency room notes, and hospital discharge summaries. The hardware at the locations consisted of a server that supported about 40 workstations and 20 printers. The studies discussed in this analysis illustrate a variety of ways in which outpatient EHRs can serve to improve the quality of care.

In Florida, for example, tampa general hospital uses artificial intelligence developed by, Inc. to screen hospital visitors with camera-integrated face scanners that analyze facial features and thermal scans to determine if a visitor has a fever. Similarly, researchers at the University of Massachusetts are developing Amherst FluSense, an artificial intelligence device aimed at analyzing cough sounds to assess the possible spread of viral respiratory diseases. Hospitals are implementing clinical trials tools like these to help reduce the spread of the virus. There is limited empirical evidence on the diffusion of new technologies under PPS. The Prospective Payments Evaluation Commission has reported that recent years have witnessed continued growth in the number of community hospitals offering lithotripsy, open-heart surgery, cardiac catheterization and organ transplants, but there is evidence that PPPs have slowed the adoption of potentially cost-effective technologies.

For this review, we assessed whether the studies measured some key organizational characteristics and what those characteristics were. Such characteristics can be considered important demographics of the organization, just as gender, age and severity of the disease would be considered important demographic characteristics for an investigation into the efficacy and safety of a new pharmaceutical product. The simplest example is that of a particular pharmaceutical therapy for patients with a particular condition. In this case, a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of the new pharmaceutical would be a study with good internal validity.