Quarterly Business Report: Do Computers Really Save Money?

Most often, yes. But they can be misused. And the benefits may be extremely hard to measure

New York Presbyterian Healthcare System, product of the newly merged Columbia Presbyterian and New York-Cornell hospitals in Manhattan, is the very model of a modern medical establishment. Formed in January 1998, it brought together more than 25 health institutions and merged their operations to achieve economies of scale. The company has spent a cool $100 million just installing new computers in its facilities to get state-of-the-art performance--and cost-saving efficiencies. Has the network got its money's worth? That, says senior vice president Guy Scalzi, is not always easy to calculate.

Take an automated laboratory at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Conveyor belts...

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