U of Minnesota researchers examine the value of health information technology

March 10, 2009

University of Minnesota researchers found that the use of health information technology (IT), a popular health policy initiative, has had little or no effect on patient safety. Despite this, the researchers say it's still too early to judge the effectiveness of health IT. They employed innovative methods that are shedding entirely new light on the issue, necessitating extensive further examination. The study, funded by the Agency for Health Quality and Research (AHRQ) and the Changes in Healthcare Financing and Organization initiative, appears in the March 2009 issue of Health Affairs.

Researchers from the U's Carlson School of Management and the School of Public Health examined nationally representative Medicare data on more than 10 million hospital inpatient stays for the years 1999-2002. They looked at the effects of three different health IT applications on three separate patient safety indicators. The IT applications examined were electronic medical records, nurse charts and automated imaging. The patient safety indicators examined were infection, post-operative hemorrhage or hematoma and postoperative pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis.

They found that electronic medical records are the only IT application to have a clear, though marginal, effect on patient safety. Electronic medical records reduced infections, but had no effect on the other patient safety indicators that were studied. The benefits of electronic medical records did grow with time.

The study authors wrote that their research suggested that early adopters of health IT were typically large academic medical centers that provide high quality care and likely have better-than-average outcomes. Consequently, generalizations from early health IT adopters could overstate health IT's value on a national scale.

"While this is an interesting result, it is clear that much more research is needed on this issue," said Stephen Parente, associate professor in the Carlson School of Management and a study author. Parente and his co-author Jeffrey McCullough of the School of Public Health agree that planned federal investment in health IT should be accompanied by investment in the evidence base needed to evaluate its effectiveness.
-end-


University of Minnesota

Related Public Health Articles from Brightsurf:

COVID-19 and the decolonization of Indigenous public health
Indigenous self-determination, leadership and knowledge have helped protect Indigenous communities in Canada during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and these principles should be incorporated into public health in future, argue the authors of a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.200852.

Public health consequences of policing homelessness
In a new study examining homelessness, researchers find that policy such a lifestyle has massive public health implications, making sleeping on the street even MORE unhealthy.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic likely to cause long-term health problems, Yale School of Public Health finds
The coronavirus pandemic's life-altering effects are likely to result in lasting physical and mental health consequences for many people--particularly those from vulnerable populations--a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health finds.

The Lancet Public Health: US modelling study estimates impact of school closures for COVID-19 on US health-care workforce and associated mortality
US policymakers considering physical distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 face a difficult trade-off between closing schools to reduce transmission and new cases, and potential health-care worker absenteeism due to additional childcare needs that could ultimately increase mortality from COVID-19, according to new modelling research published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Access to identification documents reflecting gender identity may improve trans mental health
Results from a survey of over 20,000 American trans adults suggest that having access to identification documents which reflect their identified gender helps to improve their mental health and may reduce suicidal thoughts, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Study estimates mental health impact of welfare reform, Universal Credit, in Great Britain
The 2013 Universal Credit welfare reform appears to have led to an increase in the prevalence of psychological distress among unemployed recipients, according to a nationally representative study following more than 52,000 working-age individuals from England, Wales, and Scotland over nine years between 2009-2018, published as part of an issue of The Lancet Public Health journal on income and health.

BU researchers: Pornography is not a 'public health crisis'
Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have written an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health special February issue arguing against the claim that pornography is a public health crisis, and explaining why such a claim actually endangers the health of the public.

The Lancet Public Health: Ageism linked to poorer health in older people in England
Ageism may be linked with poorer health in older people in England, according to an observational study of over 7,500 people aged over 50 published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

Study: Public transportation use linked to better public health
Promoting robust public transportation systems may come with a bonus for public health -- lower obesity rates.

Read More: Public Health News and Public Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.