Friday, November 19, 2010

GAO report: - Health Care Delivery: Features of Integrated Systems Support Patient Care Strategies and Access to Care (such as HIT)

A new GAO report has appeared entitled "Health Care Delivery: Features of Integrated Systems Support Patient Care Strategies and Access to Care, but Systems Face Challenges." (Hat tip: saw this in story by Inga at HerTALK).

The report is available at these links:

GAO-11-49 November 16, 2010
Highlights Page (PDF) Full Report (PDF, 33 pages) Accessible Text

One of those strategies, of course, is healthcare IT:

IDSs in GAO's sample reported that using electronic health records (EHR), operating health insurance plans, and employing physicians all support strategies to improve patient care. An EHR contains patient and care information, such as progress notes and medications. Some IDSs said that using EHRs supports their patient care strategies such as care coordination, disease management, and use of care protocols by increasing the availability of individual patient and patient population data and by improving communication among providers.

Some might take this report as "proof" that healthcare IT is ready for national rollout.

However, the following passage lends doubt to that interpretation, in the form of a significant "however" (a common word seen in reports about healthcare IT, along with terms such as "but", "except", "in some cases", "in the next release", the ever-valuable term "glitches", and other similar hedge terms).

However, the information we present is from the perspective of the IDSs in our sample. We relied on data obtained through the Web-based data collection instrument, interviews with system representatives, and published studies and did not conduct independent analyses of the effectiveness of strategies.

This report suffers a serious flaw: potential (or might I say likely) self-reporting bias.

Caveat emptor.

-- SS

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tastes good with butter and kool aid.