Cover: What It Will Take to Achieve the As-Yet-Unfulfilled Promises of Health Information Technology

What It Will Take to Achieve the As-Yet-Unfulfilled Promises of Health Information Technology

Published in: Health Affairs, v. 32, no. 1, Jan. 2013, p. 63-68

by Arthur L. Kellermann, Spencer S. Jones

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This study was published in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal. The full text of the study can be found at the link above.

Research Questions

  1. Why hasn't health information technology fulfilled its original promise of greater efficiency and lower spending?

Abstract

A team of RAND Corporation researchers projected in 2005 that rapid adoption of health information technology (IT) could save the United States more than $81 billion annually. Seven years later the empirical data on the technology's impact on health care efficiency and safety are mixed, and annual health care expenditures in the United States have grown by $800 billion. In our view, the disappointing performance of health IT to date can be largely attributed to several factors: sluggish adoption of health IT systems, coupled with the choice of systems that are neither interoperable nor easy to use; and the failure of health care providers and institutions to reengineer care processes to reap the full benefits of health IT. We believe that the original promise of health IT can be met if the systems are redesigned to address these flaws by creating more-standardized systems that are easier to use, are truly interoperable, and afford patients more access to and control over their health data. Providers must do their part by reengineering care processes to take full advantage of efficiencies offered by health IT, in the context of redesigned payment models that favor value over volume.

Key Findings

HIT's disappointing performance to date can be largely attributed to three factors:

  • sluggish adoption of health IT systems
  • systems that are neither interoperable nor easy to use
  • failure of health care providers and institutions to reengineer care processes to reap the full benefits of health IT.

Research conducted by

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