Latest Research on Health Information Technology's Unintended Consequences

October 31, 2016
Free for AMIA members; $50 for non-members
Kai Zheng, PhD; Yunan Chen, MBBS, PhD; Ross Koppel, PhD, FACMI

The AMIA CIS and Implementation Working Groups present the following webinar:

It has been extensively documented that health information technology (IT) is often associated with effects that are not intended by software designers, implementers, healthcare administrators, or clinicians.  These are usually called “unintended consequences.” While such effects can be beneficial, a majority of the health IT-related unintended consequences reported in the literature have been found to cause adverse outcomes, such as new types of patient safety risks, lost or delays of time or data, and increased workload for clinicians. We recently conducted a survey of the literature to identify original empirical investigations published in English between 2014 and 2015 that reported unintended effects introduced by health IT adoption. In this webinar, we will present the findings of that review, and of this research area’s trends. To make this webinar most engaging, we present examples of unintended consequences and open the discussion to the audience for contributions of examples and of the best methods to discover, understand and rectify undesired consequences. 

Learning Objectives

After attending this webinar, the participant should be better able to:

  • Describe the research conducted in the past decade that led to the wide recognition of unintended adverse consequences associated with health IT implementation and use;
  • Understand the common causes for health IT-related unintended consequences and their detrimental effects on efficiency, quality of care, and patient safety;
  • Describe ways of discovering unintended consequences;
  • Seek ways of increasing users and administrators sensitivity to unintended consequences

Speaker Information

Kai Zheng, PhD
Yunan Chen, MBBS, PhD
Ross Koppel, PhD, FACMI (moderator)

Kai Zheng, PhD, recently joined the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) as Associate Professor of Informatics in the Department of Informatics. He is also Co-Director of the Center for Biomedical Informatics at the UCI Institute for Clinical and Translational Science. Prior to joining UCI, he was Associate Professor of Health Management and Policy in the School of Public Health and Associate Professor of Information in the School of Information at the University of Michigan. He was Director of University of Michigan’s Health Informatics Program preparing students for careers that will harness the power of information to enhance health and transform individual health and healthcare. Zheng’s research draws upon techniques from the fields of information systems research and human–computer interaction to study the use of information, communication, and decision technologies in patient care delivery and management. His recent work has focused on topics related to interaction design, workflow and sociotechnical integration, and diffusion and evaluation of health information technologies. Zheng received his PhD degree in Information Systems from Carnegie Mellon University. He is the recipient of the 2011 American Medical Informatics Association New Investigator Award that recognizes early informatics contributions and significant scholarly achievements on the basis of scientific merit and research excellence.

Yunan Chen, MBBS, PhD, is an associate professor in Informatics in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). She is the Director of the Undergraduate Minor Program in Health Informatics, and Vice Chair for Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Informatics. She works in the areas of health informatics, human–computer interaction (HCI), and computer supported cooperative work (CSCW). More specifically, she studies the design, implementation, and evaluation of interactive systems in healthcare. Her recent projects have explored the individual, group, and organizational impacts of health IT in a wide variety of clinical settings, with special focuses on workarounds, team collaboration, and patient–provider interactions. She has also studied the organization, use, and sense making of health information for chronic disease management among consumers of healthcare. Yunan holds a Ph.D. degree in Information Science from the iSchool at Drexel University, and a Bachelor of Medicine degree from the China Medical University.

Ross Koppel, PhD, FACMI, is a leading scholar of health IT and of the interactions of people, computers and workplaces. His articles in journals such as JAMA, JAMIA, Annals, NEJM, Health Affairs are considered seminal works in the field. Professor Koppel is on the faculty of the Sociology Department at the University of Pennsylvania and also of Penn’s Medical School. At the Med School he is the Principal Investigator of the Study of Hospital Workplace Culture and Medication Error. Professor Koppel was the Internal Evaluator of Harvard Medical School’s project to create a new health IT architecture. In addition, Ross Koppel is co-PI on the NSA study of workarounds to cyber security and is also the co-investigator of the National Science Foundation Project on Safe Cyber Communication and Smart Alerts in Hospitals. His work combines ethnographic research, extensive statistical analysis, surveys, and usability studies. He coauthored the AHRQ Guide to reducing unintended consequences of health IT.