When computers replace paper, patient mortality rates drop 15% during hospitalization, among other metrics, according to a study of 41 Texas hospitals by Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins School of Medicine researchers published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The researchers divided hospital clinical information technology systems into four categories: medical notes and records, test results, order entry and clinical decision support. Physicians from the 41 hospitals ranked them in each of the four categories and researchers examined the relationship between those rankings and the rates of inpatient death, complications, costs and length of stay for 167,233 patientsall older than age 50who were admitted to the participating hospitals in 2005 and 2006.
In addition to lower overall mortality rates, hospitals with higher scores for computerized order-entry systems posted 55% lower odds of death for patients undergoing surgery for coronary artery bypass grafts and 9% lower odds of death for patients with myocardial infarction.
Higher scores for computerized order entry were associated with lower average costs per admission and 16% lower odds of developing complications across all reasons for admission. The New York-based Commonwealth Fund funded the study.