Level of Agreement on Health Information Technology Adoption and Use in Survey Data

A Mixed-Methods Analysis of Ambulatory Clinics in 1 US State

Published in: JAMIA Open (2019). doi: 10.1093/jamiaopen/ooz004

Posted on RAND.org on March 22, 2019

by Robert S. Rudin, Yunfeng Shi, Shira H. Fischer, Paul G. Shekelle, Alejandro Amill-Rosario, Bethany Shaw, M. Susan Ridgely, Cheryl L. Damberg

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Objective

Adoption of health information technology (HIT) is often assessed in surveys of organizations. The validity of data from such surveys for ambulatory clinics has not been evaluated. We compared level of agreement between 1 ambulatory statewide survey and 2 other data sources: a second survey and interviews with survey respondents.

Materials And Methods

We used 2016 data from 2 surveys of ambulatory providers in Minnesota-the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) survey and the Minnesota HIT Ambulatory Clinic Survey-and primary data collected through qualitative interviews with survey respondents. We conducted a concurrent triangulation mixed-methods assessment of the Minnesota HIT survey by assessing level of agreement between it and HIMSS, and a thematic analysis of interview data to assess the respondent's understanding of what was being asked and their approach to responding.

Results

We find high agreement between the 2 surveys on questions related to common HIT functionalities-such as computerized provider order entry, medication-based decision support, and e-prescribing-which were widely adopted by respondents' organizations. Qualitative data suggest respondents found wording of items about these functionalities clear but encountered multiple challenges including interpreting items for less commonly adopted functionalities, estimating degree of HIT usage, and indicating relevant barriers. Respondents identified multiple errors in responses and likely reported greater within-group homogeneity than actually existed.

Conclusions

Survey items related to the presence or absence of widely adopted HIT functionalities may be more valid than items about less common functionalities, degree of usage, and barriers.

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