Meaningful use is commonly referred to as “meaningless use” by practices and hospitals, but a recent study finds that meaningful use actually helps prevent adverse drug events and reduces costs.
For the study, researchers focused on Florida hospitals and looked at the frequency of adverse drug events and meaningful use attestations. Researchers pulled data from the American Hospital Association Healthcare IT Database Supplement to the 2010 Annual Survey of Hospitals, CMS’ hospital compare website, and Florida’s inpatient database.
Hospitals that adopted five medication management components for stage 1 of meaningful use reported adverse drug events 63 percent lower than hospitals that had not met the relevant meaningful use requirement. Even in hospitals that had less than five medication management functions still saw a significant drop in adverse drug events. Adverse drug events were 53 percent lower for hospitals with three to four medication management functions, and 58 percent lower for hospitals with one to two medication management functions.
The good news doesn’t end there, though. Researchers conclude that each adverse drug event that is avoided could save a hospital about $4,800, or $267 million annually. In other words, hospitals could recoup 22 percent of their spending on health IT tools by avoiding adverse drug events.
The transition to electronic health records is expensive, but when used right, EHRs can save in areas beyond the costs of paper. For more on this study, see iHealthBeat.