Financial effects of health information technology: a systematic review.
Health information technology (HIT) is widely viewed as an important lever with which to improve the quality and efficiency of the healthcare system. However, there has long been debate about its financial effects.
To characterize the existing data on the financial effects of HIT and to consider the implications for the effect of HIT on healthcare spending.
Systematic literature review.
We identified articles by (1) searching PubMed using the intersection of terms related to HIT applications and terms related to financial or economic effect; and (2) reviewing the reference lists of the included articles as well as additional policy articles and literature reviews.
A total of 57 articles met our inclusion criteria, including 43 articles (75%) reporting financial benefits to a stakeholder associated with HIT. These included 26 articles (46%) reporting cost savings, 6 articles (11%) reporting revenue gains, and 11 articles (19%) reporting a mixture of cost savings and revenue gains. Among articles with experimental study designs, 22 of 34 (65%) reported financial benefits; and among articles explicitly measuring costs and benefits, 19 of 21 (90%) reported financial benefits. The most prevalent mechanisms were savings on administrative goods and/or personnel, savings on pharmaceuticals, and revenue gains through improved billing. Overall there is a dearth of articles on this topic, especially ones with strong study designs and financial analyses.
HIT can have financial benefits, but more research is required, especially on HIT's effects under emerging delivery and payment reform efforts.