Health IT: Focus on Meaningful Use

Robert S. Rudin, Ph.D. Associate Policy Researcher RAND Corporation 20 Park Plaza, Suite 920 Boston, MA Interview with:
Robert S. Rudin, Ph.D.
Associate Policy Researcher
RAND Corporation
Boston, MA 02116 What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Rudin: We found that most published health IT implementation studies report positive effects on quality, safety, and efficiency. Most evaluations focus on clinical decision support and computerized provider order entry. However, not all studies report equally positive results, and differences in context and implementation are one likely reason for these varying results, yet details of context and implementation are rarely reported in these studies.  Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Rudin: The number of health information technology (IT) evaluation studies is rapidly increasing, driven primarily by increased evaluation of commercial health IT applications. Commercial studies accounted for more than half of evaluated health IT products, an enormous increase over previous literature reviews. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Rudin: Clinicians and patients should realize that health IT can be a great enabler of improving the quality and value of health care.  However, by itself health IT will not accomplish these goals. Health IT needs to be part of a strategy.  In order to produce the most value, health IT needs to be fitted to the organizational and clinical context, and how best to do this is not always well known. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Rudin: The most important improvement that can be made in health IT evaluations is increased measurement, analysis, and reporting of the effects of contextual and implementation factors.


Spencer S. Jones, Robert S. Rudin, Tanja Perry, Paul G. Shekelle; Health Information Technology: An Updated Systematic Review With a Focus on Meaningful Use. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2014 Jan;160(1):48-54