NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Patients, Doctors Could Benefit From Greater Use Of Internet

July 26, 2000

Experts report that the medical profession has lagged other sectors in the application of information technologies. Paper records still rule among physicians, and insurers, hospitals, pharmacies and clinical labs often manage patient records without the help of the Internet.

  • That may be one reason, experts say, why administrative costs account for 15 percent to 20 percent of total health-care spending.
  • Increased reliance on the Internet could strengthen the three foundations of greater efficiency in the health-care industry: information, competition and economies of scale.
  • Already, according to some estimates, half of all consumers who access the Internet are in search of health-related information.
  • With the Internet capable of fostering cheaper and faster insurance reimbursements, industry experts predict that within a few years at least 30 percent of medical claims will be processed online.

By taking better advantage of the Internet, health-care professionals could not only improve the quality of patient treatment, but contain mounting medical costs as well, experts say.

Source: Laura D'Andrea Tyson (University of California at Berkeley), "A Startling Medical Breakthrough: The Internet," Business Week, July 24, 2000.


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