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Digital records may not cut health costs, study cautions

The New York Times, March 6, 2012

Computerized patient records are unlikely to cut healthcare costs and may actually encourage doctors to order expensive tests more often, a study published on Monday concludes. Research in the journal Health Affairs found that doctors using computers to track tests, like X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging, ordered far more tests than doctors relying on paper records. The study showed there was a 40 percent higher rate of image testing by doctors using electronic technology instead of paper records. The gap was even greater—a 70 percent higher rate—for more advanced and expensive image tests.