Measuring the cost impact of hospital information systems: 1987-1994
This study measures the impact of information technology (IT) use on hospital operating costs during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Using a proprietary eight-year panel dataset (1987-1994) that catalogues application-level automation for the complete census of the 3000 U.S. hospitals with more than 100 beds, this study finds that both financial/administrative and clinical IT systems at the most thoroughly automated hospitals are associated with declining costs three and five years after adoption. At the application level, declining costs are associated with the adoption of some of the newest technologies, including systems designed for cost management, the administration of managed care contracts, and for both financial and clinical decision support. The association of cost declines with lagged IT as well as the cost patterns at the less automated hospitals both provide some evidence of learning effects.
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