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3/25/2010
02:49 PM
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Data Dupes Prompt HIT Overspending

Redundant health data hosted by multiple providers could be costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in health IT overexpenditures, analyst says.

As the technological transformation of healthcare takes shape, the hope is that insurance companies and medical providers will coordinate patient information in a way that reduces data duplication.

Yet one IDC analysts said patients are getting similar information about health and wellness from insurance companies and hospitals, and that misalignment is causing medical providers to spend unnecessarily to support information that patients can get from multiple sources.

IDC analyst, Janice Young, said over the last two years insurance companies and hospitals have both been investing in technology that provides patients with similar information associated with their illnesses.

For example, said Young, a patient with a cardiac illness can log onto her insurance company, enter the word "cardiac" and that action triggers the system to provide information on the introduction of a health plan cardiology program, information on diets and exercise management programs, directions to local cardiologists, and nearby health clubs and exercise programs that may be subsidized by the insurance company.

This information may be helpful to the patient, but if the patient were to log on to her hospital's cardiology division, she would likely see similar information.

"The insurance companies, hospitals, and physicians, particularly the very large provider organizations in the U.S. like the Mayo Clinic, are building the same sorts of capabilities and they are planning if not executing the same kind of alerts and information to consumers," Young said.

Because of the duplication of information there is a waste of technological investment and technical support which could costs hundreds of thousands of dollars when considering IT expenditure, Young said.

"The cost of duplication and redundancy in the U.S. is clear. IDC Health Insights healthcare payer technology research shows that US health plans account for over 50 percent of the total worldwide software IT spend," young said. "There are similar metrics for the provider markets. The majority in both markets report that they expect budgets to increase," Young adds.

While there are no easy solutions, Young urges insurance companies and medical providers to track technology investments and learn how to "align and integrate efforts to produce the best long term market results."

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