Developing and Applying a Formative Evaluation Framework for Health Information Technology Implementations: Qualitative Investigation

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Background: There is currently a lack of comprehensive, intuitive, and usable formative evaluation frameworks for health information technology (HIT) implementations. We therefore sought to develop and apply such a framework. This study describes the Technology, People, Organizations, and Macroenvironmental factors (TPOM) framework we developed.
Objective: The aim was to develop and apply a formative evaluation framework for HIT implementations, highlighting
interrelationships between identified dimensions and offering guidance for implementers.
Methods: We drew on an initial prototype framework developed as part of a literature review exploring factors for the effective implementation of HIT. In addition, we used qualitative data from three national formative evaluations of different HIT interventions (electronic health record, electronic prescribing, and clinical decision support functionality). The combined data set comprised 19 case studies of primarily hospital settings, and included 703 semistructured interviews, 663 hours of observations, and 864 documents gathered from a range of care settings across National Health Service (NHS) England and NHS Scotland. Data analysis took place over a period of 10 years and was guided by a framework informed by the existing evidence base.
Results: TPOM dimensions are intimately related and each include a number of subthemes that evaluators need to consider. Although technological functionalities are crucial in getting an initiative off the ground, system design needs to be cognizant of the accompanying social and organizational transformations required to ensure that technologies deliver the desired value for a variety of stakeholders. Wider structural changes, characterized by shifting policy landscapes and markets, influence technologies and the ways they are used by organizations and staff.
Conclusions: The TPOM framework supports formative evaluations of HIT implementation and digitally enabled transformation efforts. There is now a need for prospective application of the TPOM framework to determine its value.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e15068
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2020


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