A national survey of U.S. hospitals by Harvard researchers published in The American Journal of Medicine shows information technology has yielded neither administrative efficiencies nor cost savings.
The findings show that increased computerization in U.S. hospitals hasn’t made them cheaper or more efficient, Harvard researchers say, although it may have modestly improved the quality of care for heart attacks.
The data came from the HIMSS Analytics annual survey of hospital computerization; Medicare Cost Reports that hospitals submit annually to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS); and the 2008 Dartmouth Health Atlas, which compiles CMS data on costs and quality of care.
Although researchers found that U.S. hospitals increased their computerization between 2003 and 2007, they found no indication that health IT lowered costs or streamlined administration, even in the “most wired” institutions. While U.S. hospital administrative costs increased slightly, from 24.4 percent in 2003 to 24.9 percent in 2007, hospitals that computerized most rapidly actually had the largest increases in administrative costs.