NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 21, 2004

Many doctors and hospitals have been reluctant to invest in hardware and software to manage patient data because of the high price tag, yet many health care systems are beginning to realize the benefits of technology, like increased efficiency and fewer errors. Technology could cut medical costs by one-quarter or more and improve health care at the same time, says USA Today.

  • The U.S. health care system could save $140 billion a year using more technology in health care, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson.
  • If computerized drug prescriptions replaced paper ones, 2.1 million fewer patients would suffer drug reactions, says the Center for Information Technology Leadership.
  • Pamela Brier, CEO of Maimonides Medical Center, credits the hospital's new technology with cutting patients stays by 30.4 percent.

In May, President Bush set the goal for every American to have an electronic medical record within 10 years, and lawmakers are beginning to advocate increased funding for technology.

For example, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) recently introduced a bill that would link Medicare payments for the first time to the use of technology. Hospitals that meet goals for technology would eventually get higher federal financial reimbursements than those that don't.

Source: Julie Schmit, "Health care's paper trail is costly route," USA Today, July 19, 2004.

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