A report from the Congressional Budget Office said that two widely cited estimates of the potential savings from implementing health information technology are not accurate but did not offer its own estimates.
The report also questioned the value of health IT outside of integrated systems. For providers and hospitals that are not part of integrated systems, the benefits of health IT are not as easy to capture, and perhaps not coincidentally, those physicians and facilities have adopted EHRs at a much slower rate, according to the authors of the CBO report.
Office-based physicians in particular may see no benefit if they purchase such a productand may even suffer financial harm, the report said.
The CBO discounted the validity of two previously released reports from RAND Corp. and the Center for Information Technology Leadership. RAND had estimated the savings to hospitals and doctors of implementing electronic records would reach $77 billion after 15 years at a cost of $7.6 billion per year over the period. The leadership center had estimated savings to doctors of electronic medical records would be $44 billion per year at a total cost of $14 billion to $30 billion.
For a number of reasons, they are not an appropriate guide to estimating the effects of legislative proposals aimed at boosting the use of health IT, the report stated. -- by Joseph Conn
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