Center for American Progress

Wider Potential of Health Care Infrastructure and Information Technology
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Wider Potential of Health Care Infrastructure and Information Technology

Information technology should also allow clinicians to make better care decisions when they see patients, and allow other health care providers and researchers to gather the data needed to improve care processes.

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Information technology should also allow clinicians to make better care decisions when they see patients, and allow other health care providers and researchers to gather the data needed to improve care processes. One study estimates savings of $22 billion in federal programs over the period 2009-2018 from e-prescribing alone, due to reductions in drug costs, adverse drug events, and better adherence. The Congressional Budget Office conservatively estimates savings of $7 billion to federal programs during the five-year period 2010-2014 resulting from reduced utilization of health care services related to health IT adoption, and notes that another $17 billion are possible if federal payments are adjusted downwards to reflect the efficiencies gained by providers.

Health IT is valuable not just when doctors meet with patients at their offices, at a hospital or clinic but also when the information gathered during these visits can be collected and analyzed to understand what works. Many common medical practices have never been evaluated in the situation they are used in, and even current consensus guidelines about what care to provide are often based on very little clinical evidence. Thus, a part of the national information infrastructure strategy must be invested in understanding what works.

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