Systematic Review

Impact of Health Information Technology on Quality, Efficiency, and Costs of Medical Care

Published in: Annals of Internal Medicine, v. 144, no. 10, May 16, 2006, p. E12-E22, W-1-W-18

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2006

by Basit Chaudhry, Jerome K. Wang, Shin-Yi Wu, Margaret A. Maglione, Walter Mojica, Elizabeth Roth, Sally C. Morton, Paul G. Shekelle

Read More

Access further information on this document at www.annals.org

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

BACKGROUND: Experts consider health information technology key to improving efficiency and quality of health care. PURPOSE: To systematically review evidence on the effect of health information technology on quality, efficiency, and costs of health care. DATA SOURCES: The authors systematically searched the English-language literature indexed in MEDLINE (1995 to January 2004), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, the Cochrane Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, and the Periodical Abstracts Database. The authors also added studies identified by experts up to April 2005. STUDY SELECTION: Descriptive and comparative studies and systematic reviews of health information technology. DATA EXTRACTION: Two reviewers independently extracted information on system capabilities, design, effects on quality, system acquisition, implementation context, and costs. DATA SYNTHESIS: 257 studies met the inclusion criteria. Most studies addressed decision support systems or electronic health records. Approximately 25% of the studies were from 4 academic institutions that implemented internally developed systems; only 9 studies evaluated multifunctional, commercially developed systems. Three major benefits on quality were demonstrated: increased adherence to guideline-based care, enhanced surveillance and monitoring, and decreased medication errors. The primary domain of improvement was preventive health. The major efficiency benefit shown was decreased utilization of care. Data on another efficiency measure, time utilization, were mixed. Empirical cost data were limited. LIMITATIONS: Available quantitative research was limited and was done by a small number of institutions. Systems were heterogeneous and sometimes incompletely described. Available financial and contextual data were limited. CONCLUSIONS: Four benchmark institutions have demonstrated the efficacy of health information technologies in improving quality and efficiency. Whether and how other institutions can achieve similar benefits, and at what costs, are unclear.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.