Article

Enabling patient-centered care through health information technology

ABSTRACT

The main objective of the report is to review the evidence on the impact of health information technology (IT) that supports patient-centered care (PCC) on: health care processes; clinical outcomes; intermediate outcomes (patient or provider satisfaction, health knowledge and behavior, and cost); responsiveness to needs and preferences of patients; shared decisionmaking and patient-clinician communication; and access to information. Additional objectives were to identify barriers and facilitators for using health IT to deliver PCC, and to identify gaps in evidence and information needed by patients, providers, payers, and policymakers.
MEDLINE®, Embase®, Cochrane Library, Scopus, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, PsycINFO, INSPEC, and Compendex databases through July 31, 2010.
Paired members of our team reviewed citations to identify randomized controlled trials of PCC-related health IT interventions and studies that addressed barriers and facilitators for health IT for delivery of PCC. Independent assessors rated studies for quality. Paired reviewers abstracted data.
The search identified 327 eligible articles, including 184 articles on the impact of health IT applications implemented to support PCC and 206 articles addressing barriers or facilitators for such health IT applications. Sixty-three articles addressed both questions. The study results suggested positive effects of PCC-related health IT interventions on health care process outcomes, disease-specific clinical outcomes (for diabetes mellitus, heart disease, cancer, and other health conditions), intermediate outcomes, responsiveness to the needs and preferences of patients, shared decisionmaking, patient-clinician communication, and access to medical information. Studies reported a number of barriers and facilitators for using health IT applications to enable PCC. Barriers included: lack of usability; problems with access to the health IT application due to older age, low income, education, cognitive impairment, and other factors; low computer literacy in patients and clinicians; insufficient basic formal training in health IT applications; physicians' concerns about more work; workflow issues; problems related to new system implementation, including concerns about confidentiality of patient information; depersonalization; incompatibility with current health care practices; lack of standardization; and problems with reimbursement. Facilitators for the utilization of health IT included ease of use, perceived usefulness, efficiency of use, availability of support, comfort in use, and site location.
Despite marked heterogeneity in study characteristics and quality, substantial evidence exists confirming that health IT applications with PCC-related components have a positive effect on health care outcomes. positive effect on health care outcomes.

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