The value of health information technology (IT) should come from a combination of perspectives in addition to the technology's return on investment, notes a research paper published online by the American Journal of Managed Care. Judging the value of health IT based only on its contributions of operational efficience or data accountability and interoperability may be selling the technology short, wrote the paper's authors, who are researchers from RAND Health, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Vanguard Health Systems.
Making health IT more relevant in today's changing healthcare delivery environments requires consideration of not only the costs of technologies but also the "social value," or benefits to patients, derived from using these technologies. Incorporating new technologies may have both short-term and long-term costs, but the real question should be how beneficial these technologies will be in the long run, compared to not having implemented them in the first place.
And finally, the value of health IT also depends on the acceptance of each stakeholder's perception and opinion, and these different views need to be considered when making health IT decisions or evaluating specific technologies, the authors concluded.