It's a banality to state that Healthcare IT is hopelessly out-of-date. Actually, hospitals are often full of gleaming new equipment and are constantly upgrading their infrastructure. The problem is that while the assorted blocks of hardware and software in a healthcare system are often very sophisticated in themselves, they typically don't connect to each other, or to their users, in a very effective manner. Printers, faxes, and paper filing cabinets form the real backbone of the system.
The enormous amount of money being spent on health information technology as part of President Obama's economic stimulus package should, among other things, yield potentially significant cost savings. In a study funded by key vendors of Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems, the Center for Information Technology Leadership predicts (pdf) "an annual net value of $19 billion based on a 10-year rollout and a usage rate of 80% of the U.S. population."