Study: Still waiting for efficiency gains from electronic medical records

Electronic medical records were supposed to save us a lot of money. Government policies encouraged and then mandated health care providers make the switch, and those big stacks of manila folders are becoming increasingly scarce at doctors' offices.

A new study from the RAND Corporation suggests those efficiency gains have failed to materialize, and they think they know why. Spencer Jones, an information scientist at RAND, discusses his corporation's findings.

"The bulk of the cost savings were [supposed] to come from a reduction of redundant medical tests and reduction of adverse medication errors," says Jones.

So why haven't electronic medical records saved what they were supposed to?

"The assumption was that electronic health records would be inter-operable, that hasn't happened yet. Most electronic health records do not talk to each other. If you are receiving care in one hospital and go to see a physician in another hospital, odds are those two physicians will not have access to the same information."

About the author

Jeff Horwich is the interim host of Marketplace Morning Report and a sometime-Marketplace reporter.


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