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May 19, 2013

Health IT Systems: Costs vs. Benefits

In a recent report outlined by iHealthBeat, it was found that 71% of U.S. physicians believe the use and implementation of Health IT systems will raise health care costs. This should come as no surprise. Adding expensive infrastructure costs money. We should be discussing benefits at what cost, not merely focusing on cost alone. The way to measure Health IT investment lies in the changes it brings to care, best stated in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Triple AIM Initiative objectives: Improving the patient experience of care, improving the health of populations, and reducing the per capita cost of health care.

Attaining the goals of Triple AIM, and simply seeking better care, derives from accurate and timely information. Informing the major goals for the nation’s health system comes at a price. In 5 years, after the bulk of healthcare frontline delivery is supported by intelligent EHRs, we will be in a position where we might begin to assess how the EHR information investment changes care (hopefully for the better), improves efficiency, and informs health consumers around issues of cost, quality of care, and population health impact.
 
 

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David A. Ross, ScD

President/CEO of the Task Force for Global Health, former director of PHII