Can Healthcare IT Save Babies?
60 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2008 Last revised: 30 Jul 2012
Date Written: April 14, 2011
Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) facilitate fast and accurate access to patient records, which could improve diagnosis and patient monitoring. Using a 12-year county-level panel, we find that a 10 percent increase in births that occur in hospitals with EMRs reduces neonatal mortality by 16 deaths per 100,000 live births. This is driven by a reduction of deaths from conditions requiring careful monitoring. We also find a strong decrease in mortality when we instrument for EMRs adoption using variation in state medical privacy laws. Rough cost-effectiveness calculations suggest that EMRs are associated with a cost of $531,000 per baby's life saved.
Keywords: Healthcare IT, Infant Mortality, Hospital Quality, Technology Diffusion, Privacy Protection
JEL Classification: I1, K2, L5, O3
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