7 Recent Studies on Benefits, Risks of Health IT

Here are seven recent studies that have identified either a potential risk or benefit of health IT. The articles in each category are listed in descending chronological order.

1. Connecting stroke specialists, emergency department physicians and their stroke patients through telestroke is cost-effective compared to care in emergency departments without telestroke, according to a study published in Neurology. The researchers found that compared to usual care, telestroke produced an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $108,363 per quality-adjusted life-year in the 90-day horizon and $2,449 per QALY in the lifetime horizon.

2. A treatment program for chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries that included a telehealth tool and care management was associated with cost savings of approximately $312-$542 per person per quarter, according to a study published in Health Affairs.

3. Healthcare providers using electronic health records may achieve higher levels of care and outcomes for diabetes patients than those using paper records, according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. EHR sites had superior care and outcomes than those with paper records, even when adjusting for insurance type, age, sex and other potential confounding factors.

4. Social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and general text messaging could help the emergency-management community respond better to disasters, according to an article in The New England Journal of Medicine. The efficacy of the public health emergency system is tied to alertness, the ability to respond to daily problems on short notice and being able to recover quickly. Social media has shown to enhance these traits.

1. Making manual phone call reminders to patients prior to their appointment was more effective in reducing nonattendance than sending automated reminders, according to a study published in the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare. Manual phone call reminders reduced nonattendance by 39 percent, while automated reminders reduced nonattendance by 29 percent.

2. Reports generated from automated speech recognition technology are associated with higher error rates than reports from conventional dictation transcription, according to a study published in American Journal of Roentgenology. At least one major error was found in 23 percent of automated speech recognition reports but in only 4 percent of conventional dictation transcription reports.

3. Computerized provider order entry and clinical decision support may increase duplicate medication order errors, according to a study published in Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. The researchers found that duplicate medication errors increased from 48 before CPOE implementation to 167 after implementation.

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