Archive for marzo 2012

Do we really measure the efficiency of the health care system? When introducing a new ICT, do we carry out a proper cost-effective analysis comparing its outcome to different alternatives? Or do we allow ourselves to be carried away by the prospect of introducing the latest technology?

A recent study carried out by a regional health care authority in Spain supports the alert given by the WHO according to which 30% of health care processes are useless. On the same lines, a new study published in Health Affairs suggests that physicians who have access to  electronic health records are more likely to order additional imaging tests and laboratory tests than doctors who rely on paper records.

In times of crisis, when authorities are looking everywhere for ways to save,  when in most countries the easy way out has been taken by slashing the work force (physicians, nurses, …) it would be good to pause and think. Could we not take another, perhaps more difficult, route and analyze where the money really goes? Human knowledge is the most important ICT tool we have. It also has an ability that most hardware does not have: it can switch jobs and perform multiple tasks with a flexibility that no gadget can achieve. Why don´t we start carrying out comparative cost-effective analyses of alternative care processes comparing human based processes against ICT based processes? I have no doubt we will have some surprises.

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