Costs and benefits of connecting community physicians to a hospital WAN.

A. Kouroubali*, J. B. Starren, P. D. Clayton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The Washington Heights-Inwood Community Health Management Information System (WHICHIS) at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center (CPMC) provides 15 community physician practices with seamless networking to the CPMC Wide-Area Network. The costs and benefits of the project were evaluated. Installation costs, including hardware, office management software, cabling, network routers, ISDN connection and personnel time, averaged $22,902 per office. Maintenance and support costs averaged $6,293 per office per year. These costs represent a "best-case" scenario after a several year learning curve. Participating physicians were interviewed to assess the impact of the project. Access to the CPMC Clinical Information System (CIS) was used by 87%. Other resource usage was: non-CPMC Web-based resources, 80%; computer billing, 73%; Medline and drug information databases, 67%; and, electronic mail, 60%. The most valued feature of the system was access to the CPMC CIS. The second most important was the automatic connection provided by routed ISDN. Frequency of access to the CIS averaged 6.67 days/month. Physicians reported that the system had significantly improved their practice of medicine. We are currently exploring less expensive options to provide this functionality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-209
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings / AMIA ... Annual Symposium. AMIA Symposium
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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