A new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) highlights the cumulative experiences of more than 100 grantees that implemented major health IT projects between 2004 and 2007.
The report, Effective Teamwork and Sustainability in Health IT Implementation, reviews grantee experiences related to planning, long-term use, partnerships, vendor relationships, and end-user perceptions a few years after the end of the project period. According to the grantees, the most important factors affecting the sustainability of health IT were the ability to demonstrate benefits from health IT to grantees’ organizations, clinician support, and cost–related issues. Grantees said that most health IT products that were implemented and upgraded during the study continue to be used. However, they reported that in order for health IT projects to be successful, clinician buy-in and support must be established early in the planning period and be sustained during implementation and maintenance phases. Effective planning, including completing a detailed workflow analysis, implementation plan and process re-design assessment prior to implementation, were strong markers of long-term viability.