Measuring information quality serves as gateway to IT success

April 7, 2009

The ability to generate quality information is the one factor in an IT system that can improve medical care, tackle supplier integration, and convince physicians to buy into the use of IT, according to a triumvirate of experts presenting at HIMSS09. But while quality information is the obvious goal of healthcare IT, the means for achieving it is anything but.

The ability to generate quality information is the one factor in an IT system that can improve medical care, tackle supplier integration, and convince physicians to buy into the use of IT, according to a triumvirate of experts presenting at HIMSS09. But while quality information is the obvious goal of healthcare IT, the means for achieving it is anything but.

Specifically at issue is the technology for determining what is “quality information.” Only by developing and implementing effective means to measure this quality can the operators of healthcare IT have a means for assessing the IT itself.

Dr. David Reiter of Jefferson Medical College and Dr. Eugene S. Schneller of Arizona State University joined with Randy L. Thomas, vice president of Integrated Product Management and Marketing at Premier, to argue that value analysis techniques can be harnessed to ensure quality information. Any of several metrics might be applied. The one common denominator is the end result, specifically the output of reliable and applicable data.

Winning physician “buy-in” to healthcare IT is a major reason behind the effort to develop these metrics and the quality information they breed, the presenters said. Quality information empowers physicians by identifying opportunities for improved care. There are other benefits as well, specifically that quality information can be used to improve the integration of suppliers, as it indicates where and how suppliers can work more effectively.