MIS2101 Section 702 – Amy Lavin – Spring 2014

In Second Look, Few Savings From Digital Health Records

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/11/business/electronic-records-systems-have-not-reduced-health-costs-report-says.html?_r=3&adxnnl=1&pagewanted=1&adxnnlx=1397523804-8TV77riVELzoYaIb6Mc5nQ

The conversion to electronic health records has failed so far to produce the hoped-for savings in health care costs and has had mixed results, at best, in improving efficiency and patient care, according to a new analysis by the influential RAND Corporation.

Optimistic predictions by RAND in 2005 helped drive explosive growth in the electronic records industry and encouraged the federal government to give billions of dollars in financial incentives to hospitals and doctors that put the systems in place.

Questions:
1. If you were recommending one of these systems for a healthcare facility would you use the original RAND study in your cost benefit analysis knowing it had been paid for by companies that provide these systems?
2. If you were senior management at a firm that had adopted one of these electronic records systems how much time would you allow for a system that was not living up to its promised saving and efficiency improvements before scrapping it and looking for a new system?
3. Should the government take this level of involvement in encouraging companies to upgrade their systems, through the use of stimulus money and passing new laws requiring companies to upgrade their systems?

6 Responses to In Second Look, Few Savings From Digital Health Records

  • 1. If you were recommending one of these systems for a healthcare facility would you use the original RAND study in your cost benefit analysis knowing it had been paid for by companies that provide these systems?

    I think I would try and do my own research since the study could be skewed since they are trying to sell their software. I think that doctors realize the benefits of using electronic records but I think the cost savings were not budgeted right in the studies and caused more problems than improvements. 


    2. If you were senior management at a firm that had adopted one of these electronic records systems how much time would you allow for a system that was not living up to its promised saving and efficiency improvements before scrapping it and looking for a new system?


    It is hard to decide on a specific amount of time when I don’t know costs. I would try and figure out based on the cost of the system I would give it at least 6 months to see a change. You also do not want to change and scrap the system to quickly because there could be errors with switching from one system to another.

    3. Should the government take this level of involvement in encouraging companies to upgrade their systems, through the use of stimulus money and passing new laws requiring companies to upgrade their systems?

    I don’t think they should require companies to upgrade unless they have the money upfront. There are already lawsuits stated in the article because of companies not qualifying for money from the government. And it has not been completely proven that the practices will be saving money so it is not fair to force them to be less efficient and less profitable.

  • 1. If you were recommending one of these systems for a healthcare facility would you use the original RAND study in your cost benefit analysis knowing it had been paid for by companies that provide these systems? I would definitely bring it up and tell them how it was paid for by general electric, cerner corporation and other groups of companies that all have profited by selling electronic records systems to hospitals. I would downplay the savings because it clearly was inflated for their own benefit to continue profiting. With being one of the only major studies in that regard I would use it more as a stepping stool in explaining the painstaking process it could be to implement these electronic records.
    2. If you were senior management at a firm that had adopted one of these electronic records systems how much time would you allow for a system that was not living up to its promised saving and efficiency improvements before scrapping it and looking for a new system? With this kind of major system and such important lives at stake once up and running I would give it three months. Even if i was certain it didn’t work I would stay the full three months for lawsuit reasons and the evidence of faulty tech.
    3. Should the government take this level of involvement in encouraging companies to upgrade their systems, through the use of stimulus money and passing new laws requiring companies to upgrade their systems? Obama has placed major importance on healthcare specifically reducing the costs even creating exchanges in his long term goal of getting everyone insured. This stimulus money through the RAND study was supposedly going to be an incredible cost saver. So it made sense for them for every hospital to have the same technological advantage. With the exchanges he created they have narrow networks and small providers if he didn’t provide stimulus to help them with the influx of patients the health care system would be in further ruin.

  • 1. If you were recommending one of these systems for a healthcare facility would you use the original RAND study in your cost benefit analysis knowing it had been paid for by companies that provide these systems?

    If I were RECOMMENDING as in selling the product to a heathcare facility, yes I would absolutely use the studys which prove my product to be successful. Especially since it seems like there was no counter-argument available at the time. But if I were, say the CFO of the facility, I would definitely be skeptical looking at the study.

    2. If you were senior management at a firm that had adopted one of these electronic records systems how much time would you allow for a system that was not living up to its promised saving and efficiency improvements before scrapping it and looking for a new system?

    Well considering I was getting essentially getting this system for free, or close to it (from government stimulus) I would be a lot more patient with the RAND system and give it the benefit of the doubt before I go shelling out my own money to replace it.

    3. Should the government take this level of involvement in encouraging companies to upgrade their systems, through the use of stimulus money and passing new laws requiring companies to upgrade their systems?

    No, absolutely not. The government should not essentially sponsor and mandate a private product, just because the good-idea fairy came along and said it would cut costs.

  • 1. No I would not. I would recommend using an independent study to determine whether or not to install an electronic health record system.

    2. Scrapping the electronic records system would not be that easy if the health care facility received federal funding. In addition, I would not want to “scrap it” per se. I would look to revise as not to entirely waste a substantial financial investment that has already been made.

    3. No, the government should have opted out of this in the first place. If not for the stimulus money that was given to the health care systems, many of them would not have a digital health record system now. I do not see the benefit of the digital health record system. The many health institutions are not sharing their records with other health care systems, and that was the purpose of federal government getting involved.

  • 1. If you were recommending one of these systems for a healthcare facility would you use the original RAND study in your cost benefit analysis knowing it had been paid for by companies that provide these systems?
    I would only use it if I could see the results in person. For example, visit a facility similar to mine where it worked.
    2. If you were senior management at a firm that had adopted one of these electronic records systems how much time would you allow for a system that was not living up to its promised saving and efficiency improvements before scrapping it and looking for a new system?
    That all depends on how much money was spent on buying it. I would hope I kept the old system running as a back up and use that until funds came in to look for another system.
    3. Should the government take this level of involvement in encouraging companies to upgrade their systems, through the use of stimulus money and passing new laws requiring companies to upgrade their systems?
    Only if there was government involvement in building it and testing it. Otherwise, they are spending money wastefully and relying too much on Faith.

  • 1. If you were recommending one of these systems for a healthcare facility would you use the original RAND study in your cost benefit analysis knowing it had been paid for by companies that provide these systems?
    If the RAND study was the only study available, I may recommend using it. Unless, the healthcare facility I was representing had the funds, man power and connections to get it done internally.
    2. If you were senior management at a firm that had adopted one of these electronic records systems how much time would you allow for a system that was not living up to its promised saving and efficiency improvements before scrapping it and looking for a new system?
    It really depends on how large the facility is and what type of conversion strategy they’ve implemented. For instance if they’ve incorporated a direct strategy, then a more accurate time table could be established.

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