NOTRE DAME — Notre Dame researchers say a specific use of health care technology could save billions of dollars in taxpayer money. Their study is the first of its kind and could be used in the national debate over health care spending.
"No one has really shown these results at this level," says Professor, Idris Adjerid.
Adjerid and Corey Angst, both IT professors in Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business, along with Julia Adler-Milstein of the University of California San Francisco have a prescription for saving taxpayer dollars.
"We think it is relevant to the discussion -- where to invest these dollars in health care to make it more efficient," says Adjerid.
The trio looked at Medicare spending and found the use of a Health Information Exchange or HIE could save billions of dollars in tax dollars if implemented nationally.
They discovered mature HIEs on the federal level could save Medicare an average of $3.12 billion each year.
"Early estimates about what HIE's could yield in terms of savings is in the $80 billion in savings so this could be just scratching the surface," says Adjerid.
Right now, the country spends trillions on Medicare.
The work by Adjerid and his colleagues shows there could be significant costs savings in information technology investments on a national scale.
"What we found was if you had an HIE -- which is a health information exchange -- you spend about $139 less per Medicare patient or a 1.4 precent reduction," says Adjerid, "that doesn't seem like a lot but if you think about what we spend on Medicare annually, that is in the billions of dollars. If you extrapolate to a national scale -- if you assume the entire U.S. had HIE, you are talking about milions and billions in savings."