EHRs Show Mixed Results on Cost Reduction Effects

Use of electronic health records (EHRs) saved only an average of 3% in ambulatory health costs 18 months after adoption and did little to reduce overall inpatient costs. Larger savings may be possible if providers are better incentivized to deliver more efficient care.

Use of electronic health records (EHRs) saved only an average of 3% in ambulatory health costs 18 months after adoption and did little to reduce overall inpatient costs. Larger savings may be possible if providers are better incentivized to deliver more efficient care. MedPage Today reports:

Using electronic health records (EHRs) saved a little more than 3% in ambulatory health costs 18 months after adoption but didn't reduce overall inpatient costs, a large comparative study of EHR use found.

With that rate of savings, it would take 7 years to recoup the projected 5-year adoption costs for an EHR, according to the study, which was published in July 16 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

"Reducing health spending by the magnitude that we observed would result in substantial savings if sustained over several years," Julia Adler-Milstein, PhD, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues wrote. "Larger savings are possible if providers have incentives to deliver more efficient care."

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