Health Information Technology and Quality in Rural Hospitals

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2008
Project completed:
December 2009
Statement of the problem: The Institute of Medicine report on the Future of Rural Health emphasized the importance of HIT as a vehicle for improving the quality and safety of health care in rural communities. Previous studies of HIT and clinical quality were case studies of a small number of hospitals conducted at academic medical centers, not at rural hospitals.

Project goals: The purpose of this project is to: 1) examine the adoption of HIT among rural hospitals and identify hospital and market characteristics that facilitate or impede HIT diffusion; 2) measure the effect of HIT on clinical quality in rural hospitals; and 3) identify technologies that may be promoted to improve quality of care in rural areas.

Methods: This study will describe HIT utilization by rural hospitals for a variety of applications; model HIT diffusion across rural hospitals, identify hospital and market characteristics that serve as facilitators/barriers to HIT adoption; and measure the effect of HIT on clinical quality in rural hospitals. The HIT data will be drawn from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Analytics Database and merged with data from the American Hospital Association's annual survey of hospitals, the Hospital Compare quality measure data, and the Area Resource File.

Anticipated Publications or Products: The products of this project will include a final report, a policy brief, an article that will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal, and presentation abstracts that will be submitted to state, regional and national conferences.

There may be products related to this project; please contact the lead researcher for more information.