Federal study shows IT improves outcomes
A new report issued Thursday by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has found that certain health IT products, including those that provide decision support, clinical workflow support and care coordination can lead to better healthcare outcomes.
"Findings and Lessons from the Improving Quality Through Clinician Use of Health IT Grant Initiative" documents the findings of more than 20 research projects that investigated how health IT applications can assist providers in providing evidence-based care. Multiple studies showed positive impacts on process and intermediate outcomes.
The report highlights key findings and lessons from the experiences of 24 projects awarded in 2007 under AHRQ. According to AHRQ officials, the initiative was designed to investigate approaches for using health IT to support clinicians in making patient care decisions and coordinating care with a focus on effectively incorporating evidence-based information at the point of care. It's part of AHRQ’s Ambulatory Safety and Quality program, which was designed to improve the safety and quality of ambulatory healthcare in the U.S.
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The report summarizes the extent to which the federal projects addressed the areas of interest of the IQHIT initiative and identifies practical insights regarding the use of health IT to improve clinical decision-making and care coordination in the ambulatory setting, according to AHRQ officials.
The report presents illustrative project findings in an effort to inform research discussion and provide guidance to other entities implementing health IT systems that help clinicians improve the quality of patient care. As the researchers continue to disseminate findings from these projects, additional lessons may become evident, the report said.
The IQHIT initiative also specified several funding preference areas including two priority areas: one for projects focused on medication management and a second for project sites serving vulnerable populations. There was also a funding preference for projects being conducted at or by practice-based research networks. The projects were carried out in a variety of ambulatory care settings, including primary care and specialty care offices and clinics. They addressed a range of relevant care topics, including several priority areas for healthcare quality improvement identified by the Institute of Medicine.
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