The state of Oregon could save up to $1.3 billion a year by investing half a billion dollars now in computerized healthcare, according to a report from the Office for Oregon Health Policy and Research (OHPR) and Oregon Health Care Quality.
"Adopting electronic health records has great potential for reducing the growth of healthcare costs in the future. We must take advantage of 21st century technology through electronic health records to improve the quality of healthcare and to make the delivery system more efficient," said Governor Ted Kulongoski.
The report examined the potential quantifiable cost savings based on previous studies conducted. About a third of the savings come from eliminating unnecessary services. For example, a readily available medical history would help avoid repeated tests and prevent dangerous drug interactions, according to OHPR.
Two-thirds of the savings are from processing information more efficiently. Now, a primary care physician can look up a specialist's report without calling and waiting to have it faxed.
“The $22 billion healthcare sector of Oregon's economy is seriously lagging in adopting newer technology," said David Witter, principal author of the study. “The people of Oregon benefit, but that is not who is being asked to finance the expensive upfront costs. We're not going to get where we need to be without collaboration.”