Clinical information technology really does make hospitals safer

February 15, 2009

Hospitals that use clinical information technology to automate notes, records, order entry, and clinical decision support have lower mortality rates, fewer complications, and also save money.

Hospitals that use clinical information technology to automate notes, records, order entry, and clinical decision support have lower mortality rates, fewer complications, and also save money, according to a report published in the Jan. 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Ruben Amarasingham, MD, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, and colleagues conducted a study of 41 Texas hospitals to assess physicians' levels of interaction with the hospitals’ information systems. The data covered 167,233 patients over 50 years of age and provided information about inpatient mortality, complications, costs and duration of hospital stay.

Using the Clinical Information Technology Assessment Tool, the investigators found there was a 15% reduction in the odds of inpatient mortality for a 10-point increase in use of automated notes and records. When the tool detected higher decision support scores, there was a 16% decrease in the odds of complications, the researchers report. Lower costs for all hospital admissions were noted with higher scores on test results, order entry and decision support, the report indicates.

Amarasingham R, Plantinga L, Diener-West M, et al. Clinical information technologies and inpatient outcomes: A multiple hospital study. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(2):108-114.