Study: VA gets high yield from HIT investment

The CITL researchers concluded that taxpayers have ponied up over $4 billion on the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), and its predecessor, the Decentralized Hospital Computer Program, since 1977.

CITL compared VA IT spending levels from 2001 to 2007 with that in the private sector and came up with a ratio of IT spending to total healthcare spending of 4.76 percent at the VA and 3.97 percent in the private sector figure.

"The VA has achieved close to 100 percent adoption of several VistA components since 2004," the article said. "In contrast, the private health care sector has not reached significant adoption of any of these systems."

Adoption in the private sector of inpatient electronic health records stands at 61 percent, according to the article, use of inpatient bar-code medication administration, at 22 percent; computerized physician order entry adoption, at 16 percent; and outpatient electronic medical record adoption, at 12 percent.

"For preventive care process measures such as cancer screenings, the VA had higher performance during 2004 to 2007 relative to the private health care sector," the article concluded. "The VA averaged about fifteen percentage points higher than the private sector on preventive care for patients with diabetes."

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