Researchers dispute Mostashari’s dismissal of research data

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Four researchers who recently published a study on the potential increase in costs associated with medical informatics systems have responded to criticisms leveled at the report by Farzad Mostashari, the National Coordinator for Health IT, reports Healthcare IT News.

The study, which was originally published in the journal Health Affairs, revealed that between 40 and 70 percent of physicians with access to medical informatics systems were more likely to request additional laboratory tests or medical imaging scans than those who did not. The researchers dispute Mostashari’s dismissal of the report, claiming that such an increase in additional scans or tests would almost inevitably increase operational costs.

According to the news source, the study has garnered a significant amount of attention in the healthcare IT community due to the contradictory nature of its findings. Prior to the publication of the report, many healthcare IT and medical informatics experts claimed that implementing electronic health record solutions would substantially reduce operational expenditure in the long run.

“Dr. Mostashari offers his own explanation for our findings, suggesting that doctors who are inclined to order more tests are also inclined to purchase health IT for viewing test results electronically rather than on paper,” Danny McCormick, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and primary author of the study, said in a blog post responding to Mostashari’s comments. “He offers no evidence for this assertion and ignores the fact that we explored, and rejected, this explanation by analyzing subgroups of doctors who are unlikely to be the decision maker for IT purchases.”

Although the potential for cost reductions by implementing medical informatics solutions continues to be scrutinized, many healthcare providers remain focused on adoption of healthcare IT in their practices. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study, more than half of the facilities surveyed have dedicated clinical informatics programs established.