Harvard study says: “Computers don’t save money in hospitals”.

Ok, this is a paper that should provoke a huge discussion. This paper with two of its authors from Harvard says that the picture in hospitals with computers is quite different than the one we always thought we would see.

Obviously one should read the paper before discussing it, and I  did so. First of all, I have to say that the paper seems to give little thought into why software does not seem to decrease costs. There are three potential reasons mentioned in the conclusion part of the paper, but the final one is quite interesting. Quoting from the paper: “Finally, we believe that the computer’s potential to im-
prove efficiency is unrealized because the commercial marketplace does not favor optimal products. Coding and other eimbursement-driven documentation might take precedence over efficiency and the encouragement of clinical arsimony

Yes! The marketplace does not let us push out better technologies easily. You’d think that once you have a better solution for a problem, the world would give you a warm hug and thank you for your work. The reality of the marketplace is cruel: there is huge politics and conspiracy around healthcare informatics, and working towards better solutions is not enough on its own. It is such a pitty that there is a huge amount of people trying to make things better, and the lack of desired outputs is not only related to capacity of the solutions we are building.

I’d like to see some honest discussion about this paper, and please let me know if you come accross any riplle effects regarding this paper.