Give a Doctor Easy Access to Patient Records, and He'll Spend More on Tests

Give a Doctor Easy Access to Patient Records, and He’ll Spend More on Tests. When it comes to trimming healthcare costs, electronic medical records are supposed to be the Great Hope of the coming era. But that’s not what it’s looking like now. A telling new study led by Harvard Medical School’s Danny McCormick has just found that doctors using computerized records to track imaging tests like X-rays and MRIs actually order more such pricey tests than their ink-and-paper colleagues. So far, these findings are a minority among other studies that have found e-records to indeed be the cost-savers they’re thought to be, but they’re also findings based on a large, nationally-representative sample of what’s going on now, and not based on statistical projections. No one’s arguing that e-records aren’t the way medicine needs to go — but this certainly does put a damper on their previous all-but-a-magic-bullet status. [New York Times]