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Information Technology Linked with Better Patient Outcomes

Greater information technology adoption associated with improved performance on patient safety indicators

TUESDAY, Dec. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Greater adoption of information technology (IT) systems in hospitals is associated with improved measures of patient safety, according to research published in the November/December issue of the Journal of Healthcare Management.

Nir Menachemi, Ph.D., of the Florida State University College of Medicine in Tallahassee, and colleagues received surveys from 98 Florida hospitals that answered questions about the hospitals' use of IT systems. The researchers scored the use of IT applications in three categories: clinical, administrative and strategic. They then examined the relationship between IT adoption and hospitals' performance using patient safety indicators from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Hospitals using more IT applications were more likely to have good quality outcomes on eight patient safety indicator measures. An increase in clinical IT applications was associated with less death in low mortality diagnosis-related groups and lower risk-adjusted rates of decubitus ulcer and postoperative sepsis. Administrative IT adoption was associated with lower rates of risk-adjusted decubitus ulcer, and strategic IT adoption was related to improvements in six patient safety measures.

"The nature of returns associated with IT investments is multifaceted. Managers must consider both financial and clinical impacts that stem from IT adoption decisions. We hope that with a clearer understanding of how IT may relate to important patient outcomes, hospital leaders will be able to make better-informed decisions and to offer their patients better quality care," the authors conclude.

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