home
RSS
Could electronic medical records add costs?
March 5th, 2012
04:01 PM ET

Could electronic medical records add costs?

Electronic streamlining of medical records has been touted as a way to save money, against the backdrop of a health care system that is characterized as wasteful. Electronic medical records (or "Health IT") are supposed to save billions of dollars by eliminating duplicate or unnecessary testing.

But a new study is saying just the opposite: Health IT may actually add cost to health care instead of curbing it.

In fact, the study, just published in the journal Health Affairs, suggests that doctors who had electronic access to patient data were between 40-70% more likely to order tests.

"It's a somewhat surprising finding," said Dr. Danny McCormick, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and study co-author. "Health IT is often put forward as a major solution to the cost crisis affecting the health care system. If it actually is not likely to decrease costs, we probably ought to know about that early on."

McCormick and colleagues analyzed data from the 2008 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, which included 28,741 patient visits presided over by 1,187 physicians.

To be included in the analysis, physicians needed the ability to order and receive patient radiological and lab tests electronically; and they had to be able to get back results of tests visually - meaning, if they ordered a CT scan of the abdomen, they could get back an image of that scan on their computer.

The theory behind corralling a patient's medical records electronically – and being able to access previous data – is that it would, among other things, obviate unnecessary tests.

But just the opposite happened in this study.

Physicians who had electronic access ordered tests during 18% of visits, compared with physicians without access, who ordered 12.9% of the time.

"What we think is may be going on is that like in a lot of spheres of human behavior, if you make something easy to do, people will do it more," said McCormick. "We saw a strong association between having the capacity to view an image and ordering more tests."

One reason for the disconnect between this study's findings and those suggesting billions in savings, according to McCormick, is that those studies are based on successfully implemented electronic records systems at large health systems, such as Kaiser Permanente and the Mayo Clinic.

But there are real-world considerations that don't translate the same way they do at those big institutions, according to McCormick.

First, smaller practices may not be using technology as sophisticated as larger health systems. Another theory is that simply ordering up another test might be perceived as easier than taking time to review previous test results.

"The effect may be to provide subtle encouragement to physicians to order more imaging studies," according to the study.

A previous analysis by Harvard researchers, published in 2009 in the American Journal of Medicine, similarly suggests that, in general, hospital computing systems have not reduced overall costs.

This most recent survey was not designed to answer more sophisticated questions, like whether the patient actually needed the test. Or whether doctors who are savvy enough to install electronic medical records systems at their practices might also be more inclined toward ordering tests in borderline cases.

To be sure, more study is needed. And that is the point, according to McCormick.

"It really should give caution to those making the claim that Health IT is going to make a substantial dent in the cost crisis facing the health care system," said McCormick.


soundoff (700 Responses)
  1. Leadership: In Turbulent Times

    The next time I read a blog, I hope that it won't disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read through, but I truly believed you'd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something that you could possibly fix if you were not too busy seeking attention.

    http://www.cityprague.ru/go.php?go=https://backboneleaders.com

    June 27, 2021 at 13:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. timesuck podcast

    Iím amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog thatís both educative and engaging, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is something not enough folks are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy I stumbled across this during my hunt for something regarding this.

    http://www.aastocks.com/sc/changelang.aspx?lang=sc&url=http://backbonehunters.com

    June 27, 2021 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RV Repair Nearby

    http://pood24.officialvancouverinfo.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrv.guru

    June 27, 2021 at 15:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Rv Alignment

    http://cineramadome.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=customcampervans.com

    June 27, 2021 at 16:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Nearby RV Repair

    Everyone loves it when individuals come together and share ideas. Great blog, keep it up!

    https://v2.afilio.com.br/tracker.php?banid=4459803&campid=30926;2260&siteid=48458&url=https://www.ocrvcenter.net

    June 27, 2021 at 20:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Repair Near Me

    http://lochridgeranch.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrv.tv

    June 27, 2021 at 21:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV Repair San Clemente California

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you, However I am going through difficulties with your RSS. I donít understand the reason why I cannot join it. Is there anyone else having identical RSS problems? Anyone who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanks!!

    https://schnaeppchenfuchs.com/guides/checkout/313?target=https://ocrvshop.com/

    June 28, 2021 at 05:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Sprinter Seat Fabric Repair

    Iím impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog thatís equally educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is something too few people are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I came across this in my hunt for something concerning this.

    http://destination-wedding-planners.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=sprintervanrepair.com

    June 28, 2021 at 05:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. News

    I think the admin of this web page is genuinely working
    hard in support of his web page, for the reason that here every information is quality based material.

    June 28, 2021 at 06:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RV Repair Santa Ana

    That is a great tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Short but very precise infoÖ Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read post!

    http://121buy.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvcenter.info

    June 28, 2021 at 09:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Sprinter Repair Shop Near Me

    An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a coworker who was conducting a little research on this. And he in fact ordered me lunch because I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to discuss this matter here on your web page.

    https://websrvcs.com/System/Login.asp?id=48747&Referer=https://www.ocrvcenter.com

    June 28, 2021 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Nearby RV Repairs

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Many thanks, However I am having difficulties with your RSS. I donít understand the reason why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anyone else having the same RSS problems? Anybody who knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanx!!

    http://www.pingfarm.com/index.php?action=ping&urls=https://ocrvcenter.com

    June 28, 2021 at 12:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Dry Van Trailer Repair

    http://epropertywatch.com/email/2d6acf9342f94e3d82fea6d44b4e4fd7/track/click?url=https://ocrvcenter.com/

    June 28, 2021 at 13:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Royalton Antigua

    The other day, while I was at work, my cousin stole my apple ipad and
    tested to see if it can survive a 30 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now broken and she has 83
    views. I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

    June 28, 2021 at 15:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Van Wrap Shop Near Me

    Everything is very open with a really clear explanation of the issues. It was really informative. Your site is very useful. Thank you for sharing!

    https://elexpres.com/php_includes/universal/clicks.php?url=http://www.www.newrvowners.com

    June 28, 2021 at 18:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Sprinter Repair Orange County

    Very good information. Lucky me I ran across your site by accident (stumbleupon). I've bookmarked it for later!

    https://kamaz.ru/away.php?url=https://ocrv.pro

    June 28, 2021 at 20:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. RV Repair Fountain Valley

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon everyday. It will always be helpful to read articles from other writers and practice a little something from their websites.

    https://www.sports-central.org/cgi-bin/axs/ax.pl?https://www.ocrvmotorsports.co

    June 28, 2021 at 20:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. 08 Sprinter Intake PRT Repair

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It's always useful to read through content from other writers and use something from their sites.

    http://bridgeblue.edu.vn/advertising.redirect.aspx?AdvId=155&url=http://ocrvmotorsports.info

    June 28, 2021 at 23:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RV Repairs Nearby

    http://web.bambooin.gr.jp/rank/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=3975&url=https://www.ocrvempire.com

    June 28, 2021 at 23:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Repair Mission Viejo

    I could not resist commenting. Well written!

    https://coach.intraquest.nl/token/cookie?return=https://ocrvmotorsports.biz

    June 29, 2021 at 01:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Mercedes Sprinter Authorized Repair Center

    http://th.57883.net/alexa/th/index.asp?domain=ocrvmotorsports.info

    June 29, 2021 at 03:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Sprinter Rust Repair Panels

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thanks, However I am encountering problems with your RSS. I donít know why I am unable to join it. Is there anyone else having similar RSS problems? Anyone who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

    http://lilholes.com/out.php?https://ocrvluxurycoaches.com/

    June 29, 2021 at 05:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Camper Repair Shops Near Me

    Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to generate a top notch articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I put things off a whole lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.

    https://support.promokit.eu/plugins/dokuwiki/lib/exe/fetch.php?cache=cache&media=http://www.ocrvmotorsports.life

    June 29, 2021 at 05:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Restoration Shop Near Me

    I could not refrain from commenting. Well written!

    https://alleskostenlos.ch/outgoing/3346-dfc33.htm?to=https://ocrvcenter.biz

    June 29, 2021 at 08:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Sprinter Repair Costa Mesa

    http://kcm.kr/jump.php?url=https://ocrv.info

    June 29, 2021 at 09:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. RV Repair Huntington Beach

    http://www.fudou-san.com/link/rank.cgi?mode=link&url=https://www.ocrvart.com

    June 29, 2021 at 10:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon everyday. It will always be exciting to read content from other authors and practice a little something from other websites.

    https://ranking.8ne.jp/18/out.cgi?id=lnl2l2l&url=https://www.www.ocrvshop.com

    June 29, 2021 at 11:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now

    https://www.easytravel.com.tw/ehotel/hotel_sale.aspx?posvn=maple&url=http://ocrv.world

    June 29, 2021 at 13:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RV Repair California

    Next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn't disappoint me just as much as this particular one. After all, I know it was my choice to read through, however I really believed you'd have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something that you could fix if you were not too busy searching for attention.

    https://forum.phun.org/proxy.php?link=https://www.www.ocrv.vip/

    June 29, 2021 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Diesel Sprinter Engine Repair Service

    Good article! We are linking to this particularly great post on our website. Keep up the good writing.

    http://photoshow.aving.net/korean/?wptouch_switch=mobile&redirect=https://ocrvcenter.biz/

    June 29, 2021 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. RV Repair Santa Ana

    http://www.vladinfo.ru/away.php?url=http://ocrvparts.com/

    June 29, 2021 at 14:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Repair Seal Beach

    https://www.baumspage.com/cc/ccframe.php?path=https://www.www.ocrv.club

    June 29, 2021 at 14:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Chevrolet Luxury Van Repair

    https://www.bad.org.uk/for-the-public/patient-information-leaflets/alopecia-areata/?showmore=1&returnlink=https://boxtruckrepairshop.com

    June 29, 2021 at 19:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Minda

    you are in point of fact a good webmaster. The website loading speed is incredible.
    It seems that you're doing any unique trick. Moreover, The contents
    are masterpiece. you've performed a great
    job on this subject!

    June 29, 2021 at 19:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Repair Mission Viejo

    https://www.anapa-official.ru/?go=http://ocrv.store

    June 29, 2021 at 20:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Handicap Van Ramp Repair

    You should take part in a contest for one of the most useful sites on the internet. I'm going to highly recommend this web site!

    http://cta-redirect.ex.co/redirect?&web=https://sprintervanrepairshop.com/

    June 29, 2021 at 21:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Chevy Express Van Repair

    http://www.whsjsoft.com/blog/go.asp?url=https://www.fleetrepairshops.com/

    June 29, 2021 at 23:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Camper Repair Places Near Me

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your web site!

    http://www.whsjsoft.com/blog/go.asp?url=https://www.ocrv.world

    June 30, 2021 at 00:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Repairs Nearby

    https://email.ratemyagent.com.au/Email/RedirectToURL?url=http://ocrv.world

    June 30, 2021 at 02:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. can debt forgiveness work

    Hello to every one, the contents existing at this website are genuinely remarkable for people knowledge, well, keep up the good work fellows.

    June 30, 2021 at 03:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. 2000 Chevy Conversion Van Body Repair Panels

    Everyone loves it when people get together and share views. Great website, stick with it!

    http://tigelclub.ru/go.php?go=https://boxtruckrepairshop.com

    June 30, 2021 at 04:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Mercedes Sprinter Service

    https://www.agent123.com/bleibovitch/show.aspx?url=https://www.sprintervanrepairshop.com

    June 30, 2021 at 05:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me

    I used to be able to find good information from your blog posts.

    https://m.meetme.com/mobile/redirect/unsafe?url=https://www.ocrv.online

    June 30, 2021 at 07:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Repair Huntington Beach

    http://prchina.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrv.club/

    June 30, 2021 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Nearby RV Repair

    Having read this I thought it was extremely enlightening. I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this informative article together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!

    http://winkler-sandrini.it/info/mwst01i.pdf?a%5B%5D=<a+href=https://www.ocrvshop.com/

    June 30, 2021 at 11:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Repair

    Excellent post! We will be linking to this great content on our site. Keep up the great writing.

    https://turkmenportal.com/banner/a/leave?url=https://www.ocrv.fun

    June 30, 2021 at 12:29 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.