How Medical Device Interoperability Could Save $35B Annually

The vast majority (90 percent) of hospitals use six or more types of devices that could be integrated with electronic health records. However, just a third of hospitals integrate any medical devices with EHRs, and those that do integrate an average of three devices, according to a new whitepaper from the ONC and nonprofit research organization West Health.

There are significant barriers to device integration — the cost of device integration for hospitals is between $6,500 to $10,000 per bed, and vendors often have no impetus to offer devices interoperable with various EHR systems.

However, if these medical devices were all integrated, the healthcare industry could save $35 billion annually, according to the whitepaper.

To find the total amount of potential savings, West Health researchers interviewed 30 industry stakeholders about areas in which nonintegrated medical devices could lead to quantifiable waste.

Researchers then used current clinical literature to identify the costs associated with the different areas of waste, and found the following:

  • Quality improvement through reduction of adverse events due to safety could save $2 billion
  • Reduced costs of care because of reduced redundant testing could save $3 billion
  • Increased clinician productivity due to decreased time spent manually entering information could save $12 billion
  • Increased capacity for treatment because of shortened lengths of stay could save $18 billion

More Articles on Interoperability:

ONC's Free Population Health Software Now 2014 Edition Certified
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The Consequences of Healthcare CIO Overload

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