The U.S. had the highest per capita health care spending of industrialized countries in 2003 but is "at least a dozen years" behind other industrialized countries in adopting electronic health records, according to a study published in the journal Health Affairs.
For the study, researchers from Johns Hopkins University and Princeton University analyzed data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Researchers found that the U.S. spent $5,635 per person on health care in 2003, compared with an average of $2,280 per person in other industrialized countries. Health care spending is greater in the U.S. because health care goods and services are more expensive than in other countries, the study finds.
Meanwhile, U.S. spending per capita on health information technology in 2003 totaled 43 cents per person -- less than one-tenth of the spending in Australia, which has the second lowest per capita spending on health care IT.
Researchers recommended further adoption of health IT systems to help reduce health care spending and improve health care outcomes in the U.S. However, researchers note that no studies have evaluated the actual cost savings that result from increased use of health IT (Anderson et al., Health Affairs, May/June 2006).