From the Alliance for Health reform briefing:
Health information technology (IT) wins many honorable mentions. It is viewed by respected analysts and presidential candidates in both parties as a tool with the potential to save lives, improve efficiency and increase the overall quality of our health care delivery system.
It is also touted as a possible way to cut health care costs. A recent report from the Congressional Budget Office, however, found that health IT alone is not sufficient to reduce costs by much.
This briefing considered the idea that adoption of health information technology is about much more than saving money. For instance, it has been known for more than a decade that medication errors which cost lives or increase morbidity can be reduced through the use of computerized prescribing of orders and drugs. Yet, as of 2006, only about 12 percent of physicians and 11 percent of hospitals had adopted such tools.
Evidence on the Costs and Benefits of Health Information Technology May 2008