What measures do we use for evaluation?
Prior to beginning an evaluation of health IT implementation, it is important to reflect upon the project's goals and to identify corresponding outcome and process measures. For instance, if patient safety is a particular goal of health IT adoption, the number of preventable adverse drug events can serve as an evaluation measure. As such, there are a wide variety of metrics available to evaluate all aspects of health IT implementation: clinical outcomes measures, clinical processes measures, provider adoption and attitudes measures, patient knowledge and attitudes measures, workflow impact measures, and financial impact measures.
Ideally, an evaluation will utilize both qualitative and quantitative metrics to explore health IT project outcomes. Frequently, evaluations of health IT implementation rely heavily on quantitative data. While quantitative studies provide evaluators with data on changes in rates and percentages resulting from health IT adoption, a single-pronged evaluation strategy may not sufficiently address and answer questions about usefulness and usability. Qualitative studies add another important dimension to an evaluation because they enable evaluators to understand how well the user interacts with the new system. Qualitative studies also speak to a larger audience because they are generally easier to understand. Thus, an evaluation should use a good balance of quantitative and qualitative methods to evaluate implementation.
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