Health information technology (HIT) has the potential to bring tremendous value to the U.S. health care system, especially as we progress through health reform. In order to both achieve this potential and measure health IT’s impact on health care costs, quality, and population health, research and evaluation must be conducted on relevant policies, programs, and health IT implementations. Additionally, the traditionally lengthy timeframe for research findings to translate into practice must be accelerated.

Infographic - Research Into Practice, Extending Our Reach

Altarum Institute focuses on the systematic evaluation of properties and effects of health IT with the goal of developing new knowledge from health information and supporting evidence-based decision making in health care policy and practice.  These research activities are a direct complement to our software development, technical assistance, and consulting activities, contributing to dissemination of best practices and supporting a modern ‘learning health system’.

Altarum’s health IT research activities are conducted by interdisciplinary groups of clinical, technical, policy, and public health professionals using explicit analytical frameworks drawing from a variety of methods. Much of our health IT research is conducted in close partnership with academic institutions and other key stakeholders such as regional health information organizations, state and local government, hospital and health systems, as well as independent providers.

Examples of our health IT research efforts include the following:

  • Evaluation of the usability of electronic health records and methods of improvement using key informant interviews and expert panels.
  • The use of expert-oriented cognitive engineering methods to study adoption of a clinical decision support tool in underserved settings.
  • Economic case study of HIT adoption in small rural hospitals employing mixed methods: qualitative interviews, site visits, and financial analysis.
  • Evaluation of the Health Resources and Services Administration grantees’ ability to design, create, and implement functioning Critical Access Hospital health IT pilot networks to improve care coordination.
  • Comparison of provider-delivered care management and health plan-delivered care management in mixed methods study, involving interviews, observations, and site visits.
  • Qualitative case study highlighting the most advanced connected health communities across the globe, interviewing leaders at both domestic and international sites.

Our research team is skilled in data collection protocol and instrument design, qualitative interviewing, observations and focus groups, cognitive task analysis, thematic analysis, and immersion crystallization.