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A draft framework for measuring progress towards the development of a national health information infrastructure

Sittig, Dean; Shiffman, Richard; Leonard, Kevin; Friedman, Charles; Rudolph, Barbara; Hripcsak, George M.; Adams, Laura; Kleinman, Lawrence; Kaushal, Rainu

Background: American public policy makers recently established the goal of providing the majority of Americans with electronic health records by 2014. This will require a National Health Information Infrastructure (NHII) that is far more complete than the one that is currently in its formative stage of development. We describe a conceptual framework to help measure progress toward that goal.

Discussion: The NHII comprises a set of clusters, such as Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIOs), which, in turn, are composed of smaller clusters and nodes such as private physician practices, individual hospitals, and large academic medical centers. We assess progress in terms of the availability and use of information and communications technology and the resulting effectiveness of these implementations. These three attributes can be studied in a phased approach because the system must be available before it can be used, and it must be used to have an effect. As the NHII expands, it can become a tool for evaluating itself.

Summary: The NHII has the potential to transform health care in America – improving health care quality, reducing health care costs, preventing medical errors, improving administrative efficiencies, reducing paperwork, and increasing access to affordable health care. While the President has set an ambitious goal of assuring that most Americans have electronic health records within the next 10 years, a significant question remains "How will we know if we are making progress toward that goal?" Using the definitions for "nodes" and "clusters" developed in this article along with the resulting measurement framework, we believe that we can begin a discussion that will enable us to define and then begin making the kinds of measurements necessary to answer this important question.

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Title
BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6947-5-14

More About This Work

Academic Units
Biomedical Informatics
Publisher
BioMed Central
Published Here
September 9, 2014
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