In the two previous posts I reported (vented, some might say) on the lack of attention to productivity as we spend billions on health care information systems. In Part 1 I pointed to the Bipartisan Policy Center Task Force on Delivery System Reform and Health IT as a major culprit, and then in Part 2, I acknowledged the difficulties the health care industry has in identifying and adopting change. This time let's look at specifics.

Over the past two years, the big health care I.T. failure was spending billions switching from paper to electronic health records without ensuring that the costs were economically justified.  Furthermore, what seems to be universally missing from managing our health care system is a rigorous cost analysis on the provider side of the system -- just what does all this electronic paperwork and wasted time cost?  Is the workload apportioned properly to reduce real and hidden costs?  Is anyone tracking and analyzing all this? The answer seems to be no.

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