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

Read More

Access further information on this document at Oxford University Press

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.


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.


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.


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.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.