The Benefits of Health Information Technology

A Review of the Recent Literature Shows Predominantly Positive Results

Published In: Health Affairs, v. 30, no. 3, Mar. 2011, p. 464-471

Posted on RAND.org on March 01, 2011

by Melinda Beeuwkes Buntin, Matthew F. Burke, Michael C. Hoaglin, David Blumenthal

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An unprecedented federal effort is under way to boost the adoption of electronic health records and spur innovation in health care delivery. We reviewed the recent literature on health information technology to determine its effect on outcomes, including quality, efficiency, and provider satisfaction. We found that 92 percent of the recent articles on health information technology reached conclusions that were positive overall. We also found that the benefits of the technology are beginning to emerge in smaller practices and organizations, as well as in large organizations that were early adopters. However, dissatisfaction with electronic health records among some providers remains a problem and a barrier to achieving the potential of health information technology. These realities highlight the need for studies that document the challenging aspects of implementing health information technology more specifically and how these challenges might be addressed.

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