December 2, 2009
A new study published in the American Journal of Medicine looking at some of the America’s “most wired” hospital facilities found that computerization hasn’t saved hospitals money or improved administrative efficiency.
The study evaluated data from approximately 4,000 American hospitals over a four-year period and found that the high cost of installing and maintaining hospital computerization systems is greater then any anticipated cost savings. Moreover, most of the software written for use in hospitals is intended for administrative, not medical purposes.
The report concludes that while hospital computing might “modestly improve process measures of quality,” they do not reduce administrative or over-all costs.
September 13, 2009
The dean of Harvard Medical School weighs in on the health care debate:
…there is our inefficient and inequitable system of tax-advantaged, employer-based health insurance. While the federal tax code promotes overspending by making the majority unaware of the true cost of their insurance and care, the code is grossly unfair to the self-employed, small businesses, workers who stick with a bad job because they need the coverage, and workers who lose their jobs after getting sick.
This employer-based system arose not by thoughtful design but as an unforeseen result of price controls during World War II and subsequent tax policy. How this developed and persisted despite its unfairness and maladaptive consequences is a powerful illustration of the law of unintended consequences and the fact that government can take six decades or more to fix its obvious mistakes.