Cover: Can Health Care Information Technology Save Babies?

Can Health Care Information Technology Save Babies?

Published In: The Journal of Political Economy, v. 119, no. 2, Apr. 2011, p. 289-324

Posted on rand.org Apr 1, 2011

by Amalia Miller, Catherine E. Tucker

Electronic medical records (EMRs) facilitate fast and accurate access to patient records, which could improve diagnosis and patient monitoring. Using a 12-year county-level panel, we find that a 10 percent increase in births that occur in hospitals with EMRs reduces neonatal mortality by 16 deaths per 100,000 live births. This is driven by a reduction of deaths from conditions requiring careful monitoring. We also find a strong decrease in mortality when we instrument for EMR adoption using variation in state medical privacy laws. Rough cost effectiveness calculations suggest that EMRs are associated with a cost of $531,000 per baby's life saved.

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