Challenges and Opportunities in Studying Health IT Implementation: Understanding People, Processes, and Practices

August 22, 2018
Free for AMIA members; $50 for non-members.
Kim Unertl, PhD, MS

The author Paul Auster once wrote, “The truth of the story lies in the details.” While medical informatics often focuses on the technical details of health information technology (IT) implementation, the actual story of implementing health IT is much deeper and more nuanced. People and process components are often critical drivers in the implementation and adoption of new health IT systems, as both research and experience demonstrates. Due to the incentives from the HITECH Act, the majority of healthcare organizations in the United States now have some form of electronic health record system and other components of a health IT infrastructure. As the focus shifts away from encouraging healthcare providers to implement their initial health IT infrastructure, the new emphasis will be on de-implementation of previous health IT systems and on implementation of new systems and processes.

Transitioning between health IT systems requires an even greater emphasis on people and process components of implementation, because the logic embedded in previous health IT systems and concomitant workflow are rarely an exact match for that required by new technology. The goal of this webinar is to present an ongoing longitudinal study of a large-scale health IT implementation, and lessons learned thus far about methods and tools that can be used for evaluation during technology-driven organizational change.

Learning Objectives

After participating in this activity, the learner should be better able to:

  • Describe different methods that can be used for evaluation during technology-driven organizational change. 
  • Evaluate what different methods can help us understand about health IT implementation. 
  • Explain when it is appropriate to use specific methods in studying health IT implementation.
  • Interpret lessons learned in studying one large-scale health IT implementation, and how they might apply to the learner’s own organization.

Speaker Information

Kim Unertl, PhD, MS
Assistant Professor, Biomedical Informatics
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Dr. Unertl is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics in the School of Medicine at Vanderbilt University.  Dr. Unertl received her B.S. in biomedical engineering from Marquette University and M.S. and PhD in biomedical informatics from Vanderbilt University. Her current research focuses on the intersection of health information technology and clinical workflow, including the design and implementation of technology. Dr. Unertl’s primary interest for research settings include chronic disease care and community engagement. She also works toward development of evidence-based strategies for organizational change management during technology implementation.

Beyond her research, Dr. Unertl is a nationally-recognized leader in development of new pathways into the biomedical informatics field. She directs the Vanderbilt Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI) summer programs for high school and undergraduate students. She is also co-founder and co-director of the NLM-funded AMIA High School Scholars Program, which brings high school students to the annual AMIA Symposium to present their research and build connections to the biomedical informatics community.