Rethinking the dogma of Electronic Health Records

Health Care — By on August 9, 2011 at 10:13 AM

Alaska has made significant investments in the infrastructure needed for Electronic Health Records, but will EHR’s deliver on the grand promises made?

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

For an industry that relies on data and evidence-based measurements to make decisions on the clinical and pharmaceutical side, there isn’t a lot of evidence supporting the notion that electronic health records produce cheaper care or better outcomes.

What rigorous studies do exist, he said, often point in contrary directions.

One paper published this year by the Public Library of Science, written by U.K. doctors, notes that “there is a large gap between the postulated and empirically demonstrated benefits of eHealth technologies [and] their cost-effectiveness has yet to be demonstrated, despite being frequently promoted by policymakers and ‘techno-enthusiasts.'”

Another study, this one published in 2007 by the Archives of Internal Medicine, concluded that of the 325 or so million ambulatory visits in the U.S. that utilized “electronic health records” in some way, there was no significant difference in performance between visits with versus without [electronic health record] use for most quality indicators.

“There is no really good data that shows that [electronic health records] reduce hospitalizations,” Ken Adler, medical director of information technology at Arizona Community Physicians, told Health Data Management Magazine. “The nation is investing a huge amount of money on a hope and prayer.”

(Read more…)


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