The Impact of eHealth on the Quality and Safety of Health Care: A Systematic Overview

January 27, 2011

In my last post about The economics of eHealth (I) I quoted OECD. (2010). Improving Health Sector Efficiency: The Role of Information and Communication Technologies. Health Policy Studies to point out that this study mentioned an absence, in general, of independent, robust monitoring and evaluation of programmes and projects to determine the actual payoff from the adoption and use of ICT. A few days ago, PLoS Medicine has published:

Black AD, Car J, Pagliari C, Anandan C, Cresswell K, et al. (2011) The Impact of eHealth on the Quality and Safety of Health Care: A Systematic Overview. PLoS Med 8(1): e1000387. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000387

I would recommend you to read the whole systematic overview. However, I would like to highlight the conclusions that are align with The Economics of eHealth (I) before mentioned:

There is a large gap between the postulated and empirically demonstrated benefits of eHealth technologies. In addition, there is a lack of robust research on the risks of implementing these technologies and their cost-effectiveness has yet to be demonstrated, despite being frequently promoted by policymakers and “techno-enthusiasts” as if this was a given. In the light of the paucity of evidence in relation to improvements in patient outcomes, as well as the lack of evidence on their cost-effectiveness, it is vital that future eHealth technologies are evaluated against a comprehensive set of measures, ideally throughout all stages of the technology’s life cycle. Such evaluation should be characterised by careful attention to socio-technical factors to maximise the likelihood of successful implementation and adoption.

This conclusion also challenges researchers to apply and develop new methods with “attention to socio-technical factors”, work with other discipline and combine  strong quantitative and/or qualitative approaches.