People mistakenly think the VA’s VistA was cheap to create since internal programmers did some of the work. It wasn’t, but it provided good ROI: a study by the Center for IT Leadership [published this month in Health Affairs] says VistA cost $4 billion over 10 years, but returned savings of $7 billion.
The conclusion is that the VA spent more than a similar private sector organization would have, but got higher adoption and better care as a result (and low cost isn’t much consolation if you can’t get those things, of course). Nearly all the cost savings came from a reduction in duplicate tests and medical errors.
And the good news, of course, is that your hospital can get that $4 billion system for $0 from Medsphere or some of the other companies that offer it license-free.