That is one of the problems we are facing with the implementation of EHR anyway. The different systems don't necessarily talk to each other. This was a group that we knew we could have control over the care that they had during their time in the hospital.
HLM: What does this say about the competitive advantages with EHR?
ASK: That is what the real implication is from this study. The almost 10% isn't necessarily money saved by the hospital. It is money saved by the third-party payers and patients. If they are interested in the cost of care, and I would certainly expect third-party payers are, and a certain number of patients that are informed of probably are too, to the extent that they can select hospitals that have automated electronic health records they may do so to save themselves that 10%, especially if you are talking about a patient who is going to pay for a procedure out of pocket.
Certainly anyone would want to save money on it if they believed the quality is the same or better, and many hypothesize that the quality is going to be better with these automated system but that was not something we considered in this particular study.
HLM: Your findings are from 2009. Do you expect savings to be greater as more providers adopt EHR and the systems become more sophisticated and interoperable?
ASK: It will be significantly higher when we have EHR systems that can communicate with one another and be interoperable. I suspect right now there is a lot of duplication and redundancy of care when you go to a couple of providers and have the same thing done.