Veteran Affairs: Big Spender, Huge Saver

Wed, Apr 28, 2010

Show Me The Money

Study finds health IT investments worth $3B savings.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may have shelled out billions of dollars to jump onto the health IT bandwagon, but a recent study claims the move has a big payback. As the private sector races to join the electronic health record zeitgeist, it might be worth studying how the VA has done it.

The VA system, called Vista (for Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture), yielded $3.09 billion in cumulative benefits net of investment costs by 2007, says a team from Center for IT Leadership at Partners Healthcare in Charlestown, MA, who authored the study.

The team looked at VA’s four electronic medical systems, and measured reduced workloads, freed workspace and savings from items such as unneeded medical tests and avoided hospital admissions.

However, initial investment costs were high. One system—the Computerized Patient Record System—cost $3.6 billion. Another, called the…

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