Measuring value for money: a scoping review on economic evaluation of health information systems
- Correspondence to Jesdeep Bassi, School of Health Information Science, University of Victoria, PO Box 3050 STN CSC, Victoria, BC, Canada V8W 3P5;
- Received 16 October 2012
- Revised 21 January 2013
- Accepted 26 January 2013
- Published Online First 15 February 2013
Objective To explore how key components of economic evaluations have been included in evaluations of health information systems (HIS), to determine the state of knowledge on value for money for HIS, and provide guidance for future evaluations.
Materials and methods We searched databases, previously collected papers, and references for relevant papers published from January 2000 to June 2012. For selection, papers had to: be a primary study; involve a computerized system for health information processing, decision support, or management reporting; and include an economic evaluation. Data on study design and economic evaluation methods were extracted and analyzed.
Results Forty-two papers were selected and 33 were deemed high quality (scores ≥8/10) for further analysis. These included 12 economic analyses, five input cost analyses, and 16 cost-related outcome analyses. For HIS types, there were seven primary care electronic medical records, six computerized provider order entry systems, five medication management systems, five immunization information systems, four institutional information systems, three disease management systems, two clinical documentation systems, and one health information exchange network. In terms of value for money, 23 papers reported positive findings, eight were inconclusive, and two were negative.
Conclusions We found a wide range of economic evaluation papers that were based on different assumptions, methods, and metrics. There is some evidence of value for money in selected healthcare organizations and HIS types. However, caution is needed when generalizing these findings. Better reporting of economic evaluation studies is needed to compare findings and build on the existing evidence base we identified.
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