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Health Inf Manag. 2009;38(3):26-37.

The impact of health information technology on the quality of medical and health care: a systematic review.

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School of Public Health, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, QLD, Australia.


The aim of this study was to systematically review the published evidence of the impact of health information technology (HIT) or health information systems (HIS) on the quality of healthcare, focusing on clinicians's; adherence to evidence-based guidelines and the corresponding impact this had on patient clinical outcomes. The review covered the use of health information technologies and systems in both medical care (i.e. clinical and surgical) and other areas such as allied health and preventive services. Studies were included in the review if they examined the impact of Electronic Health Record (EHR), Computerised Provider Order-Entry (CPOE), or Decision Support System (DS); and if the primary outcomes of the studies were focused on the level of compliance with evidence-based guidelines among clinicians. Measurements considered relevant to the review were either of changes in clinical processes resulting from a change of the providers' behaviour, or of specific patient outcomes that demonstrated the effectiveness of a particular treatment given by providers. Of 23 studies included in the current review, 17 assessed the impact of HIT/HIS on health care practitioners' performance. A positive improvement, in relation to their compliance with evidence-based guidelines, was seen in 14 studies. Studies that included an assessment of patient outcomes, however, showed insufficient evidence of either clinically or statistically important improvements. Although the number of studies reviewed was relatively small, the findings demonstrated consistency with similar previous reviews of this nature in that wide scale use of HIT has been shown to increase clinician's adherence to guidelines.

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