Is it a good idea to have medical records stored in electronic form rather than paper? Maybe. One argument is that if there are stored electronically, it will help us find the "best" treatments because we will have all kinds of data. This optimism may be warranted. Against it, is the consideration that "best" is often unclear, depends on the individual, depends on the cost, and is subject to political manipulation if the determination of the "best" treatment is a government decision.
The stimulus bill suggests that the government will recoup about a third of the spending allocated for electronic health records over the next decade, an assumption that some health-care observers question, in part because of a critical analysis by the Congressional Budget Office last year.
The CBO, then led by Orszag, examined the industry-funded study behind the $77.8 billion assertion, among other things, and concluded that it relied on "overly optimistic" assumptions and said much is unknown about the potential impact of health information technology.
A CBO analysis of the stimulus bill this year projected that spending on electronic health records could yield perhaps $17 billion in savings over a decade.