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Perceptions regarding the ease of use and usefulness of health information exchange systems among medical providers, case managers and non-clinical staff members working in HIV care and community settings.



The objective of this paper is to describe how members of HIV patients' care teams perceived the usefulness and ease of use of newly implemented, innovative health information exchange systems (HIEs) in diverse HIV treatment settings. Five settings with existing electronic medical records (EMRs) received special funding to test enhancements to their systems. Participating clinics and community-based organizations added HIEs permitting bi-directional exchange of information across multiple provider sites serving the same HIV patient population.


We conducted in-depth qualitative interviews and quantitative web-based surveys with case managers, medical providers, and non-clinical staff members to assess the systems' perceived usefulness and ease of use shortly after the HIEs were implemented. Our approach to data analysis was iterative. We first conducted a thematic analysis of the qualitative data and discovered that there were key differences in perceptions and actual use of HIEs across occupational groups. We used these results to guide our analysis of the quantitative survey data, stratifying by occupational group.


We found differences in reports of how useful and how well-used HIEs were, by occupation. Medical providers were more likely to use HIEs if they provided easier access to clinical information than was present in existing EMRs. Case managers working inside medical clinics found HIEs to be less helpful because they already had access to the clinical data. In contrast, case managers working in community settings appreciated the new access to patient information that the HIEs provided. Non-clinical staff uniformly found the HIEs useful for a broad range of tasks including clinic administration, grant writing and generating reports for funders.


Our study offers insights into the use and potential benefits of HIE in the context of HIV care across occupational groups.

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