With the proliferation of relatively mature health information technology (IT) systems with large numbers of users, it becomes increasingly important to evaluate the effect of these systems on the quality and safety of healthcare. Previous research on the effectiveness of health IT has had mixed results, which may be in part attributable to the evaluation frameworks used. The authors propose a model for evaluation, the Triangle Model, developed for designing studies of quality and safety outcomes of health IT. This model identifies structure-level predictors, including characteristics of: (1) the technology itself; (2) the provider using the technology; (3) the organizational setting; and (4) the patient population. In addition, the model outlines process predictors, including (1) usage of the technology, (2) organizational support for and customization of the technology, and (3) organizational policies and procedures about quality and safety. The Triangle Model specifies the variables to be measured, but is flexible enough to accommodate both qualitative and quantitative approaches to capturing them. The authors illustrate this model, which integrates perspectives from both health services research and biomedical informatics, with examples from evaluations of electronic prescribing, but it is also applicable to a variety of types of health IT systems.
Ancker JS, Kern LM, Abramson E, Kaushal R. The Triangle Model for evaluating the effect of health information technology on healthcare quality and safety. J Am Med Inform Assoc [Internet]. 2011 Aug 20;Online first. Available from: http://jamia.bmj.com/content/early/2011/08/20/amiajnl-2011-000385.abstract