Health IT Network

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<p>Achieving an ideal national health information network will cost $156 billion over five years in capital investment and $48 billion in annual operating costs, according to a <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=18007&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D289155%26%23doc289155">new Commonwealth Fund–supported study</a> published today in the journal <em>Annals of Internal Medicine.</em> Such a network would include electronic health records, secure electronic communication between patients and providers, electronic claims submissions and eligibility verification, the ability to view and share test results, computerized physician order entry, and electronic prescribing.<br><br>
The research team, led by Rainu Kaushal, M.D., M.P.H., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, notes that while those amounts are substantial, they are still a fraction of current health care expenditures. In 2003, the United States spent 15 percent of gross domestic product, or $1.65 trillion, on health care.<br><br>

Noting the slow pace of IT adoption in health care, the authors say that public sector investment, as well as new reimbursement policies that better align financial incentives, will likely be necessary to establish a nationwide health information network within a reasonable timeframe.</p>