JAMA Forum: The role of health information technology in administrative costs

My latest JAMA Forum post, with Elsa Pearson, is about health information technology’s (HIT’s) role in administrative costs. It’s disappointing.

HIT doesn’t actually seem to be providing substantial [administrative] savings. A 2014 review of early adoption of HIT among thousands of US hospitals showed no notable cost savings 5 years after implementation. One study of an EHR implementation pilot program in Massachusetts found the average projected 5-year return was negative, with a loss of almost $44 000 per physician.

Additionally, C. Scott Kruse, PhD, MSIT, MHA, MBA, of Texas State University, and colleagues  found cost to be the most cited barrier of HIT implementation in long-term care facilities, and a 2012 study of computerized physician order entry for a particular medication found no reduction in daily cost of therapy.

Instead, studies show HIT contributes to something else: improved clinical outcomes.

Go read the rest.

Research for this piece was supported by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.


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