The Diffusion and Value of Healthcare Information Technology

The Diffusion and Value of Healthcare Information Technology

The Diffusion and Value of Healthcare Information Technology

The Diffusion and Value of Healthcare Information Technology

Synopsis

Through a series of interviews and database analyses, and extensive literature review and synthesis, this report characterizes the diffusion of use of electronic health records and places a value on that diffusion.

Excerpt

This report presents research on the diffusion and value of healthcare information technology (HIT). It is part of a larger RAND Corporation study that examined the value of HIT and policy options available to promote HIT, if and when such promotion seems appropriate. Future reports from the larger study are anticipated to be published in the middle of 2005.

Healthcare faces multiple problems, including high and rising expenditures, inconsistent quality, and gaps in care and access. Healthcare information technology, and especially complex electronic health records (EHRs), have been thought to be possible partial solutions to those problems.

This report characterizes the diffusion of electronic health records and places that diffusion within a theoretical diffusion framework. EHR diffusion, once the theory is understood, is for the most part intuitive and explainable. The report then answers the question of how much healthcare information technology might be worth to society. It analyzes other industries to arrive at a theory of information technology (IT) value and then creates plausible healthcare scenarios and quantifies the benefits.

Finally, the report analyzes potential IT market failures in healthcare and identifies some possible policy directions.

This research was conducted within RAND Health, a division of the RAND Corporation. It was sponsored by a generous consortium of private companies, including Cerner, General Electric, Hewlett Packard, Johnson & Johnson, and Xerox. The right to publish any results was retained by RAND.

The report should be of interest to information technology professionals, healthcare executives, and government officials responsible for health policy.

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