A perspective article published in the June 14 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine set out to explain the “IT productivity paradox” and its relation to the rise of health IT implementations.
Explanations for the IT productivity paradox fell into three categories: mismeasurement, mismanagement and poor useability.
“Mismeasurement explanations traced the paradox to shortcomings in research; the latter two categories highlighted shortcomings in practice.”
In resolving the original IT productivity paradox, the mismeasurement challenge was addressed through a combination of detailed data and improved empirical techniques that better accounted for service outputs, the authors stated. “Similarly, assessment of the value of healthcare outputs could be improved through the more sophisticated use of clinical data to understand access, convenience and health outcomes. Such a measurement approach may prove far superior to simple counts of tests ordered or services delivered.”
“Healthcare professionals are tempted to simply digitize paper-based workflows, but swapping out the medical record cabinet and prescription pad for a computer is proving insufficient to realize the benefits of health IT,” the authors asserted. “Instead, newly IT-enabled processes that support teamwork, care coordination and innovative approaches such as interactive patient portals have the potential to yield greater convenience, access and quality for patients and physicians at a lower cost.”
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