Factors shaping effective utilization of health information technology in urban safety-net clinics

Sheba George, Belinda Garth, Allison Fish, Richard Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Urban safety-net clinics are considered prime targets for the adoption of health information technology innovations; however, little is known about their utilization in such safety-net settings. Current scholarship provides limited guidance on the implementation of health information technology into safety-net settings as it typically assumes that adopting institutions have sufficient basic resources. This study addresses this gap by exploring the unique challenges urban resource-poor safety-net clinics must consider when adopting and utilizing health information technology.In-depth interviews (N = 15) were used with key stakeholders (clinic chief executive officers, medical directors, nursing directors, chief financial officers, and information technology directors) from staff at four clinics to explore (a) nonhealth information technology-related clinic needs, (b) how health information technology may provide solutions, and (c) perceptions of and experiences with health information technology.Participants identified several challenges, some of which appear amenable to health information technology solutions. Also identified were requirements for effective utilization of health information technology including physical infrastructural improvements, funding for equipment/training, creation of user groups to share health information technology knowledge/experiences, and specially tailored electronic billing guidelines. We found that despite the potential benefit that can be derived from health information technologies, the unplanned and uninformed introduction of these tools into these settings might actually create more problems than are solved.From these data, we were able to identify a set of factors that should be considered when integrating health information technology into the existing workflows of low-resourced urban safety-net clinics in order to maximize their utilization and enhance the quality of health care in such settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-197
Number of pages15
JournalHealth Informatics Journal
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Collaborative work practices and information technology
  • health-care professional training
  • in-depth interviews
  • organizational change and information technology
  • urban safety-net clinics

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