PwC: Hospital IT can lower death rates

New research from PricewaterhouseCoopers has drawn the provocative conclusion that there's a meaningful correlation between hospital IT investment and risk-adjusted mortality rates. PwC's research also found that eventually--once a hospital has invested enough--health IT can have a significant impact on hospital costs, operations and quality of care. The study's results are likely to echo loudly in CIO circles, as they do a lot to bolster arguments for a vigorous IT capital budget.

PwC and Wharton School professor Lorin Hitt studied performance data from roughly 2,000 U.S. hospitals, and examined IT investments using its IT Capital Index scale. After making an analysis, the consulting firm found that about 60 percent of U.S. hospitals were about to reach or had already reached a "tipping point" at which overall costs leveled off despite more IT spending. This suggests that when health IT investments are large enough, they pays for themselves by lowering other organizational costs, PwC said. Being in the middle actually had the worst impact on profits; PwC found that hospitals with moderate IT investments had higher operating costs than those with either big or small investments.

PwC also found a substantial difference in mortality rates between hospitals at the high end and hospitals at the low end of the IT Capital Index scale, suggesting that more IT spending can have a direct impact.

To get more study data and analysis:
- see the PwC press release
- read the PwC report (.pdf)