Objectives: This research integrates existing literature on information technology (IT) in hospitals, and proposes and validates a comprehensive IT capacities assessment tool in these settings.
Methods: A comprehensive literature review was conducted on Medline until September 2006 to identify studies that used specific IT measures in hospitals. The results were mapped and used as a basis for the development of the proposed instrument, which was tested through a survey of Canadian healthcare organizations (N = 221).
Results: A total of seventeen studies provided indicators of clinical and administrative IT capacities in hospitals. Based on the mapping of these indicators, a comprehensive IT capacities assessment instrument was developed including thirty-four items exploring computerized processes, thirteen items assessing contemporary technologies, and eleven items investigating internal and external information sharing. A time frame was inserted in the tool to reflect “plans for” versus “current” implementation of IT; in the latter, the extent of current use of computerized processes and technologies was measured on a (1–7) scale. Overall, the survey yielded a total of 106 responses (52.2 percent response rate), and the results demonstrated a good level of reliability and validity of the instrument.
Conclusions: This study unifies existing work in this area, and presents the psychometric properties of an IT capacities assessment tool in hospitals. By developing scores for capturing IT capacities in hospitals, it is possible to further address important research questions related to the determinants and impacts of IT sophistication in these settings.
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