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Can Health Care Information Technology Save Babies?

  • Amalia R. Miller
  • Catherine E. Tucker

Electronic medical records (EMRs) facilitate fast and accurate access to patient records, which could improve diagnosis and patient monitoring. Using a 12-year county-level panel, we find that a 10 percent increase in births that occur in hospitals with EMRs reduces neonatal mortality by 16 deaths per 100,000 live births. This is driven by a reduction of deaths from conditions requiring careful monitoring. We also find a strong decrease in mortality when we instrument for EMR adoption using variation in state medical privacy laws. Rough cost-effectiveness calculations suggest that EMRs are associated with a cost of $531,000 per baby's life saved.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/660083
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/660083
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 119 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 289 - 324

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/660083
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE/

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  1. Sherry Glied & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2008. "Technological innovation and inequality in health," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 45(3), pages 741-761, August.
  2. Laurence C. Baker & Ciaran S. Phibbs, 2002. "Managed Care, Technology Adoption, and Health Care: The Adoption of Neonatal Intensive Care," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(3), pages 524-548, Autumn.
  3. Amalia R. Miller & Catherine Tucker, 2009. "Privacy Protection and Technology Diffusion: The Case of Electronic Medical Records," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(7), pages 1077-1093, July.
  4. Marianne P. Bitler & Janet Currie, 2005. "Does WIC work? The effects of WIC on pregnancy and birth outcomes," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(1), pages 73-91.
  5. Janet Currie & W. Bentley MacLeod, 2006. "First Do No Harm?: Tort Reform and Birth Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 12478, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Douglas Almond & Joseph J. Doyle & Amanda E. Kowalski & Heidi Williams, 2010. "Estimating Marginal Returns to Medical Care: Evidence from At-risk Newborns," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(2), pages 591-634.
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