Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Slashdot News Story | Harvard Says Computers Don't Save Hospitals Money

Researchers at Harvard Medical School pored over survey data from more than 4,000 'wired' hospitals and determined that computerization of those facilities not only didn't save them a dime, but the technology didn't improve administrative efficiency either. The study also showed most of the IT systems were aimed at improving efficiency for hospital management — not doctors, nurses, and medical technicians.

This is absolutely criminal. If computers aren't making hospitals more efficient then they're using them wrong, or they have crooked software vendors who are cashing in while not giving hospitals what they actually need.

This is another great opportunity for a big open source project in my opinion.


Anonymous said...

I would guess the problem is crooked software vendors (and incompetent IT managers). I have seen a lot of idiotic software purchases in my day, which are generally a combination of a crooked salesman and a buyer that can't tell if they are being robbed. In healthcare, considering how much money is wasted between insurance companies and hospitals, it doesn't surprise me that they can't figure out how to make IT systems work for them.

aguiness said...

I suspect it is neither.Rather doctors, nurses and staff are not being adequately trained on these systems. However, after installation of these systems, new reporting requirements, etc. have been instituted. As a result, doctors and nurses are spending much more time doing busy work than they are diagnosing and caring for patients. My wife is an ER Nurse in 4 hospitals and that is the case in each one of them.These systems are wonderful if everyone is thoroughly versed in their usage, however rarely are ANY of the care givers anywhere near where they need to be just barely proficient!Personally, I believe we have similar problem with our schools - everybody wants more hardware and software in the hands of our kids, but adequate resources are not being spent on educating our educators on how to teach with them!As such, these systems/software become more a resource drain than a benefit to our teachers/students or caregivers/patients. That's not to say that we ought to not introduce them, but it is to say that we ought to use them wisely.

Anonymous said...

Actually, it is HIPPA. I was working at a Texas hospital that had just aquired a server room of test servers for free from Microsoft. We were setting up all the connections for the Dr.'s and Nurses with small handhelds and connect it up with the medical records and the pharmacy. It was the most efficiant system ever! No more bickering about who did what in the previous shift. No more guessing at meds and blood draws. It was efficiant and everyone was happy. Then HIPPA hit. Instead of giving the IT people a list of requirments to start making everything compliant they literally SHUT DOWN the server room. I have never seen Dr.'s and Nurses unite faster and stronger against one thing than that one fell swoop of action. It was a mess.