In those areas, physicians have used such consultations to reduce the number of unnecessary office visits (compared with the number in regions without electronic systems).A number of integrated delivery systems, including Intermountain Healthcare, Geisinger Health System, and Partners Health Care, have also implemented EHRs across their organizations, and officials believe that as a result the systems have improved the efficiency and quality of the care they provide.Research indicates that in certain settings, health IT appears to make it easier to reduce health spending if other steps in the broader health care system are also taken to alter incentives to promote savings.
Office-based physicians in particular may see no benefit if they purchase such a product—and may even suffer financial harm.
Many analysts and policymakers believe that health IT is a necessary ingredient for improving the efficiency and quality of health care in the United States.
Despite the potential of health IT to increase efficiency and improve quality, though, very few providers—as of 2006, about 12 percent of physicians and 11 percent of hospitals—have adopted it.
The VA has successfully implemented a systemwide EHR in a health care system that serves nearly 6 million patients in more than 1,400 hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes (Department of Veterans Affairs, 2008).
According to the agency, its use of health IT has reduced its costs and greatly improved the quality of its care.