Do electronic health systems help reduce costs?

by | Apr 3, 2012

Over the past several years, hospitals and other healthcare providers have invested a great deal of money in electronic health records programs aimed at improving efficiency and cutting costs.

However, the New York Times reported that new research seems to indicate computerized systems do not necessarily help cut costs. The study shows that physicians who routinely use computers to track tests such as X-rays and MRIs ordered a significantly higher number of tests than did doctors who simply used paper records.

In fact, doctors with computerized access to a patient’s previous imaging result ordered tests 40 percent more than doctors without access to electronic systems. “Our research raises real concerns about whether health information technology is going to be the answer to reducing costs,” said the lead author of the study.