By now, most of us know the cost of health care is soaring out of control. It's not access to insurance that's causing the problems, it's the cost of health care. So experts are continuously looking for ways to reduce that cost.
A new study from the University of Michigan says use of electronic health records can reduce the cost of outpatient care by roughly 3-percent. That's compared to relying on traditional paper records.
Researchers at the university examined more than four years of healthcare cost data in nine communities. The outpatient care category included not only doctor's visits, but services typically ordered during those visits as well. They include laboratory, pharmacy and radiology.
This was a pretty big study, covering the healthcare costs of 179,000 patients in three Massachusetts communities that pretty much switched to electronic health records.
Julia Adler-Milstein, associate professor at the University of Michigan school of information said 3 percent savings and while that may not sound huge if it could be sustained or even increased it would be a substantial amount.
To be clear, it didn't mean costs went down in those communities, but they didn't rise as fast. That suggests that the practice at least slows the increase in the cost of medicine.
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