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Does hospital information technology infrastructure promote the implementation of clinical practice guidelines? A multicentre observational study of Japanese hospitals

15 Jun 2019

Objectives

It remains unclear whether insufficient information technology (IT) infrastructure in hospitals hinders implementation of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) and affects healthcare quality. The objectives of this study were to describe the present state of IT infrastructure provided in acute care hospitals across Japan and to investigate its association with healthcare quality.

Methods

A questionnaire survey of hospital administrators was conducted in 2015 to gather information on hospital-level policies and elements of IT infrastructure. The number of positive responses by each respondent to the survey items was tallied. Next, a composite quality indicator (QI) score of hospital adherence to CPGs for perioperative antibiotic prophylaxis was calculated using administrative claims data. Based on this QI score, we performed a chi-squared automatic interaction detection (CHAID) analysis to identify correlates of hospital healthcare quality. The independent variables included hospital size and teaching status in addition to hospital policies and elements of IT infrastructure.

Results

Wide variations were observed in the availability of various IT infrastructure elements across hospitals, especially in local area network availability and access to paid evidence databases. The CHAID analysis showed that hospitals with a high level of access to paid databases (p<0.05) and internet (p<0.05) were strongly associated with increased care quality in larger or teaching hospitals.

Conclusions

Hospitals with superior IT infrastructure may provide higher-quality care. This allows clinicians to easily access the latest information on evidence-based medicine and facilitate the dissemination of CPGs. The systematic improvement of hospital IT infrastructure may promote CPG use and narrow the evidence-practice gaps.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open