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Open Access Research article

Hospital characteristics associated with highly automated and usable clinical information systems in Texas, United States

Ruben Amarasingham1*, Marie Diener-West2, Laura Plantinga3, Aaron C Cunningham4, Darrell J Gaskin5 and Neil R Powe6

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine, UT Southwestern Medical Center and Parkland Health & Hospital System, Dallas, USA

2 Department of Biostatistics, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA

3 Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research, Baltimore, USA

4 Department of Data Management and Clinical Research, Parkland Health and Hospital System, Dallas, USA

5 Department of African American Studies, University of Maryland, College Park, USA

6 Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Departments of Epidemiology and Health Policy & Management, Bloomberg School of Public Health and Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA

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BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2008, 8:39  doi:10.1186/1472-6947-8-39

Published: 15 September 2008

Abstract

Background

A hospital's clinical information system may require a specific environment in which to flourish. This environment is not yet well defined. We examined whether specific hospital characteristics are associated with highly automated and usable clinical information systems.

Methods

This was a cross-sectional survey of 125 urban hospitals in Texas, United States using the Clinical Information Technology Assessment Tool (CITAT), which measures a hospital's level of automation based on physician interactions with the information system. Physician responses were used to calculate a series of CITAT scores: automation and usability scores, four automation sub-domain scores, and an overall clinical information technology (CIT) score. A multivariable regression analysis was used to examine the relation between hospital characteristics and CITAT scores.

Results

We received a sufficient number of physician responses at 69 hospitals (55% response rate). Teaching hospitals, hospitals with higher IT operating expenses (>$1 million annually), IT capital expenses (>$75,000 annually) and hospitals with larger IT staff (≥ 10 full-time staff) had higher automation scores than hospitals that did not meet these criteria (p < 0.05 in all cases). These findings held after adjustment for bed size, total margin, and ownership (p < 0.05 in all cases). There were few significant associations between the hospital characteristics tested in this study and usability scores.

Conclusion

Academic affiliation and larger IT operating, capital, and staff budgets are associated with more highly automated clinical information systems.