Background: Multi-stakeholder alliances - groups of payers, purchasers, providers, and consumers that work together to address local health goals - are frequently used to improve health care quality within communities. Under the Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) initiative, multi-stakeholder alliances were given funding and technical assistance to encourage the use of health information technology (HIT) to improve quality. We investigated whether HIT adoption was greater in AF4Q communities than in other communities. Methods: Drawing upon survey data from 782 small and medium-sized physician practices collected as part of the National Study of Physician Organizations during July 2007 - March 2009 and January 2012-November 2013, we used weighted fixed effects models to detect relative changes in four measures representing three domains: use of electronic health records (EHRs), receipt of electronic information from hospitals, and patients' online access to their medical records. Results: Improvement on a composite EHR adoption measure was 7.6 percentage points greater in AF4Q communities than in non-AF4Q communities, and the increase in the probability of adopting all five EHR capabilities was 23.9 percentage points greater in AF4Q communities. There was no significant difference in improvement in receipt of electronic information from hospitals or patients' online access to medical records between AF4Q and non-AF4Q communities. Conclusion: By linking HIT to quality improvement efforts, AF4Q alliances may have facilitated greater adoption of EHRs in small and medium-sized physician practices, but not receipt of electronic information from hospitals or patients' online access to medical records. Implications: Multi-stakeholder alliances charged with promoting HIT to advance quality improvement may accelerate adoption of EHRs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health Policy