The Impact of Information Technology on Emergency Health Care Outcomes

Susan Athey, Scott Stern
RAND Journal of Economics. September
2002, Vol. 33, Issue 3, Pages 399-432

We analyze the productivity of information technology in emergency response systems. "Enhanced 911" (E911) is information technology that links caller identification to a location database and so speeds up emergency response. We assess the impact of E911 on health outcomes using Pennsylvania ambulance and hospital records between 1994 and 1996, a period of substantial adoption. We find that as a result of E911 adoption, patient health measured at the time of ambulance arrival improves, suggesting that E911 speeds up emergency response. Further analysis using hospital discharge data shows that E911 reduces mortality and hospital costs.