Informatics Research Seminar: Developing a Framework for Health Information Technology Evaluation

June 16 @ 4:00 – 5:00 pm


Speaker: Eric Eisenstein, PhD
Presented from Duke University



The US government is poised to spend billions of dollars on health information technologies with little evidence as to the ultimate value of those investments. This presentation will describe a framework for health information technology evaluation and use that framework to critique previous electronic health record system evaluations.

Applying Charles Friedman’s fundamental theorem of biomedical informatics, the role of evaluation can be defined as, “empirically determining whether it is true that a person (or persons) working in partnership with a specific information resource in a particular setting is “better” than that same person (or persons) unassisted.” Using a matrix defined by an information technology’s domain (automation, connectivity, decision support, or data mining), the evaluation study’s focus (formative or summative evaluation), and its timing (before or after implementation), a set of sixteen evaluation study types can be defined. Each study type is distinguished by the information technology’s value proposition and the range of evaluation questions, measurements, and methods that will be employed. This framework will be presented and used to assess previous studies evaluating cost savings from ambulatory electronic health record systems, benefits of computerized provider order entry, and safety issues in electronic health record system implementation.


Dr. Eric L. Eisenstein is a faculty member at the Duke Clinical Research Institute with a special interest in understanding relationships between complex interventions in health care systems and the long-term clinical and economic outcomes of patients. His research in clinical-economic databases and their analyses has been enhanced through work as principal investigator for phase II, III and IV economics and quality of life studies conducted alongside randomized clinical trials in cardiovascular, emergency, public health, and pulmonary medicine. Dr. Eisenstein’s research in medical informatics has focused on the development and application of methodologies to evaluate information technologies as complex interventions in health care systems.