The increased use of electronic health record systems helped reduce costs in Canada's health care system by about 1.3 billion Canadian dollars -- or about $1.27 billion -- over six years, according to a new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, EHR Intelligence reports (Bresnick, EHR Intelligence, 4/22).
About the Study
The study was commissioned by Canada Health Infoway, a government-funded organization charged with monitoring and improving the use of IT in Canada's health care system.
For the study, researchers examined EHR adoption among family physicians between 2006 and 2012. They reviewed recent research, national surveys, cost data and interviews.
The study found that that between 2006 and 2012, EHR adoption helped Canada's health care system save an estimated:
- 800 million Canadian dollars -- or about $779,628 -- through greater administrative efficiency, such as spending less staff time organizing files, pulling patient charts and processing laboratory tests; and
- 584 million Canadian dollars -- or about $569,129 -- through care improvements, such as fewer duplicate tests and adverse drug events (CBC News, 4/22).
The study also found that in 2012 alone, Canada's health system saved an estimated:
- 177 million Canadian dollars -- or about $172,493 -- through less staff time spent pulling patient charts; and
- 99 million Canadian dollars -- or about $96,479 -- through fewer duplicate tests (EHR Intelligence, 4/22).
Improvements in Care
According to the study, EHR adoption in Canada also contributed to:
- Better preventive services and chronic disease management; and
- Improved communication among health care providers, as well as between physicians and patients (CBC News, 4/22).
When asked about the benefits of EHR adoption:
- 97% of surveyed physicians cited fewer unnecessary tests;
- 96% cited being more up to date and better able to coordinate patient care; and
- 94% cited faster test results (EHR Intelligence, 4/22).
Canada Hopes To Maintain Progress
Canadian officials said the country aims to continue achieving savings through EHR adoption.
Richard Alvarez -- president and CEO of Canada Health Infoway -- said, "We expect significant additional gains as adoption grows, use matures and connections to other care settings expand" (CBC News, 4/22).