Keywords: quality of care, information technology, continuous quality improvement, quality assurance, comparative health systems, health care provider networks
Information technology and quality improvement
Innovation in information technology and changes in health care delivery have converged to create opportunities for quality improvement through enhanced information access and utilisation. This exploratory paper reviews the literature on IT and QI in order to address two key research questions: 1. What is the relationship between the availability and use of IT in QI applications in the health care industry? 2. What are the variables that explain the relationship between the availability and use of IT in QI applications in the health care industry? Case study and survey data that highlight discrepancies between the availability of information technology for quality improvement and its actual utilisation by health care provider networks are presented and discussed. International comparisons are made and strategies for the effective evaluation and use of information technology for quality improvement are presented. Suggestions for further research are also discussed.