Does introduction of a Patient Data Management System (PDMS) improve the financial situation of an intensive care unit?
1 Anästhesiologische Klinik, Universitätsklinikum Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany
2 Lehrstuhl für Medizinische Informatik, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany
BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2013, 13:107 doi:10.1186/1472-6947-13-107Published: 16 September 2013
Patient Data Management Systems (PDMS) support clinical documentation at the bedside and have demonstrated effects on completeness of patient charting and the time spent on documentation. These systems are costly and raise the question if such a major investment pays off. We tried to answer the following questions: How do costs and revenues of an intensive care unit develop before and after introduction of a PDMS? Can higher revenues be obtained with improved PDMS documentation? Can we present cost savings attributable to the PDMS?
Retrospective analysis of cost and reimbursement data of a 25 bed Intensive Care Unit at a German University Hospital, three years before (2004–2006) and three years after (2007–2009) PDMS implementation.
Costs and revenues increased continuously over the years. The profit of the investigated ICU was fluctuating over the years and seemingly depending on other factors as well. We found a small increase in profit in the year after the introduction of the PDMS, but not in the following years. Profit per case peaked at 1039 € in 2007, but dropped subsequently to 639 € per case. We found no clear evidence for cost savings after the PDMS introduction. Our cautious calculation did not consider additional labour costs for IT staff needed for system maintenance.
The introduction of a PDMS has probably minimal or no effect on reimbursement. In our case the observed increase in profit was too small to amortize the total investment for PDMS implementation.
This may add some counterweight to the literature, where expectations for tools such as the PDMS can be quite unreasonable.