Briefing paper

The impacts of eHealth upon hospital practice: synthesis of the current literature

17 Oct 2017
DOI

http://doi.org/10.25916/5b4d3e223657c
Description

To increase value from health-care expenditures, governments worldwide are increasingly adopting (or planning to adopt) eHealth technologies (e.g. Electronic Medical Records (EMR), Computer Provider Order Entry (CPOE), ePrescribing, and Computerised Decision Support Systems (CDSS)). The US government devoted $34 billion to this effort, and as a result, over 75% of US hospitals have now implemented EMRs. Alternatively, the UK National Health Service suspended their digitization efforts in 2011 after spending approximately £12 billion, but in 2016 dedicated a further £4.2 billion to digitise healthcare. The Queensland Government has budgeted $1.26 billion in an ambitious attempt to digitally transform the state’s public hospitals and similar initiatives have also been undertaken by other Australian states. Investing in eHealth is largely viewed as a means for the healthcare industry to improve financial and clinical outcomes. However, some of these outcomes are yet to be fully realised7 and effects of digitisation reported in the literature are often conflicting.

While many US hospitals have implemented eHealth technologies, their early experiences are not necessarily generalizable to today’s environments because digital systems are rapidly evolving. Because of this, and the heterogeneity of effects reported in past literature, it is important to provide up-to-date assessments of the currently available evidence. The aim of this brief is to provide, for policy-makers, an analysis of current literature relating to the effects to be expected from hospital implementation of eHealth technologies.

To increase value from health-care expenditures, governments worldwide are increasingly adopting (or planning to adopt) eHealth technologies (e.g. Electronic Medical Records (EMR), Computer Provider Order Entry (CPOE), ePrescribing, and Computerised Decision Support Systems (CDSS)). The US government devoted $34 billion to this effort, and as a result, over 75% of US hospitals have now implemented EMRs. Alternatively, the UK National Health Service suspended their digitization efforts in 2011 after spending approximately £12 billion, but in 2016 dedicated a further £4.2 billion to digitise healthcare. The Queensland Government has budgeted $1.26 billion in an ambitious attempt to digitally transform the state’s public hospitals and similar initiatives have also been undertaken by other Australian states. Investing in eHealth is largely viewed as a means for the healthcare industry to improve financial and clinical outcomes. However, some of these outcomes are yet to be fully realised and effects of digitisation reported in the literature are often conflicting.

While many US hospitals have implemented eHealth technologies, their early experiences are not necessarily generalizable to today’s environments because digital systems are rapidly evolving. Because of this, and the heterogeneity of effects reported in past literature, it is important to provide up-to-date assessments of the currently available evidence. The aim of this brief is to provide, for policy-makers, an analysis of current literature relating to the effects to be expected from hospital implementation of eHealth technologies.

Publication Details
Publication Place: 
Canberra
Published year only: 
2017
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