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Studies show use of health IT has positive results

March 9, 2011

A review of articles on health information technology conducted by the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT found that an overwhelming majority reported positive results on key aspects of care.

The study also found that all healthcare providers, not just large HIT “leader organizations” and early adopters, were seeing benefits from the use of technology such as electronic health records. The article was published in a recent issue of the journal Health Affairs.

Positive results cited in the review included a study of HIT in 41 Texas hospitals that concluded those with more advanced HIT had fewer complications, lower costs and lower mortality rates than facilities with limited HIT.

The review helps the ONC update its research on HIT, said David Blumenthal, M.D., the National Coordinator for HIT and one of the authors of the review. “This article brings us much more up-to-date, both in our confidence regarding the overwhelming evidence of the benefits of adoption and use of HIT, and also in our understanding of problem areas that still need to be addressed,” he said.

More than 4,000 articles published between July 2007 and February 2010 were surveyed, from which 154 articles were selected for the study. The ONC read positive results in 62 percent of the articles, saw mixed but predominantly positive results in 30 percent and found negative reports in only 10 articles.

EHR use is on the rise in the United States, with more than half of healthcare providers planning to prioritize achieving meaningful use of their systems by the end of 2012, according to a survey conducted at the annual HIMSS conference.

Another recent study in Health Affairs found that more than three-quarters of U.S. doctors would be eligible for government incentive payments, Modern Healthcare reports. The study analyzed data reported by more than 2,600 physicians in the 2007 and 2008 National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys, and concluded that nearly 83 percent of physicians’ offices could qualify for incentives under the Medicare or Medicaid programs.

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