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By Dr. Brian McDonough

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Most people are aware that electronic medical records and computerization has hit medicine and the official word is that quality of care will be improved because of the switch. That remains to be seen but what about controlling health care costs?

Clearly there should be changes here however this may not be the case. According to a report in the journal Health Affairs, computerized patient records are unlikely to cut health care costs and may actually encourage doctors to order expensive tests more often. Doctors with computerized access to a patient’s previous image results ordered tests on 18 percent of the visits, while those without the tracking technology ordered tests on 12.9 percent of visits.

This is a 40 percent higher rate of image testing by doctors using electronic technology instead of paper records.

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