Vista EMR Payback or Cost

Posted on April 8, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I found this article on the WSJ Health blog titled, “Study: VA’s Computer Systems Cost Billions, but Have Big Payback” Of course, I was intrigued since I knew how much the VA had spent on their EMR and so I wanted to learn about this Big Payback that the study found.

Maybe I’m reading this wrong (in which case I’m sure you’ll correct me), but the article states that the four VA health IT systems they studied had a $3.09 billion cumulative benefit. Then, they say that just the Vista system alone cost $3.6 billion.That doesn’t seem like a good return to me. Unless, I’m misunderstanding the first number and they’re actually saying that the benefit received was a total of $3.09 billion over the $3.6 billion spent. Yes, $6.69 billion in benefit. Does either conclusion make sense to you?

Of course, the most insightful part of the article/study was the limits on the data: “the VA has a unique, integrated structure that is more likely to produce results from IT projects and is hard to match in the private sector. In short, they say your results may vary.”