The reasons for widescale introduction of information technology into health care is that: it will reduce costs, and reduce errors. We know that in some cases it may not necessarily reduce errors. Now we know that it doesn’t necessarily reduce costs. Harvard researchers examined 4000 “wired” hospitals to determine the effect of widespread adoption of IT in hospitals. They found that, for the most part, IT did not result in cost savings or increased efficiency.
The authors of the study provide 3 possible reasons why cost savings are not realized. The third reason is especially interesting:
…we believe that the computer’s potential to improve efficiency is unrealized because the commercial marketplace does not favor optimal products…
We are left to wonder…optimal in terms of addressing the needs of the task or optimal in terms of usability? Probably both!