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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

Hospitals With Better It Have Fewer Deaths, Study Shows

Patients have better outcomes in hospitals that make greater use of technology, concludes a collaborative study involving multiple universities and healthcare systems. The study, which involved more than 167,000 patients in 41 hospitals, measured the amount of medical care automation with a Clinical Information Technology Assessment Tool, a survey-based metric that analyzes automation and the ease of use of a hospital's information system.

Study author Dr. Ruben Amarasingham, associate chief of medicine at Parkland Health & Hospital System and an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, says "hospitals with automated notes and records, order entry, and clinical decision support had fewer complications, lower mortality rates, and lower costs." By comparing in-patient death rates, medical complications, length of stay, and costs, the study found that hospitals with the most automation saved up to $1,729 per patient for various procedures.

The study explored four common medical conditions — heart attacks, congestive heart failure, coronary artery bypass grafting, and pneumonia — and how technology could be used to automate part of the treatment process. The survey measured the automation of four procedures and asked doctors to describe the systems' effectiveness and ease-of-use on a 100-point scale. A 10-point increase in the automation of medical notes and patient records was associated with a 15 percent decrease in patient deaths, and better automation order-entry systems were associated with a 9 percent decrease in the risk of heart attack and a 55 percent decrease in the need for coronary artery bypass grafts.

From Computerworld
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