CBO says EMRs won't save as much as hoped

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) suggests that without large changes in the healthcare delivery system, EMRs can't cut healthcare costs substantially. This will come as a bit of a shock to both federal legislators and presidential candidates, many of whom have run around claiming that implementing EMRs could all but reform the healthcare system singlehandedly. The projections come as part of a larger CBO report looking at larger patterns in healthcare spending. Peter Orszag, the CBO's director, argues that EMRs will indeed be helpful, at least in pulling together a clinical database that could be used for comparative effectiveness research, but that ROI on EMR implementations won't be "as substantial as people think."

Now the question is whether assorted members of Congress and varied presidential hopefuls are going to change their tune, or simply come up with proposals that could make returns on EMR investment more attractive (tax credits and other financial supports being an obvious example).

To find out more about this research by the CBO:
- read the report (.pdf)
- read this iHealth Beat piece

Related Articles:
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Money is not the problem. Editorial
Study: E-health offers 2:1 return on investment. Report