- Value includes costs and benefits: Value cannot be found through cost analysis alone, the report's authors say. While costs are important, they do not reveal what the health benefit to patients may be nor do they assess the potential benefits of the technology or system. Studies must be sure to measure both, they say.
- Value accrues over time: New tools have short-term costs and long-term costs, and the same holds true for the benefits they provide. While capturing the impact of technology over the long term is not "feasible for any study," the authors say, a study must allow for enough time to show the upside of having the new tool compared to not having it.
- Value depends on stakeholder's perspective: Perception varies from person to person and practice to practice, the authors say. This must be a consideration because differing opinions could impact conclusions about the value of the study. "Ideally, all evaluations of HIT would take the perspective of all relevant stakeholders," according to the paper.
The Value of Health Information Technology: Filling the Knowledge Gap | Page 1
However, systematic reviews of HIT have found that the evidence for value is inconclusive and that existing studies suffer from major limitations.3-6 This finding is true even of the most recent literature reviews, despite a greatly increasing number of studies evaluating HIT.6 In this paper, we suggest a way to overcome these deficiencies and make HIT evaluations more relevant to the current needs of the healthcare system, by presenting a conceptual framework for measuring the value of HIT, examining how a sample of published HIT articles report the information needed to make meaningful assessments of value, and proposing a set of criteria for future evaluations that would make them more useful for policy makers.
This paper was sponsored by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, which otherwise had no role in the conduct or writing of the paper or the decision to publish it.