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Strengthen the Evidence for Maternal and Child Health Programs

Health Information Technology

Professional Resource Brief


This resource brief provides current, high-quality resources on health information technology (health IT). Health IT includes both computer hardware and computer software that are used for the storage, retrieval, and sharing of health care information, data, and knowledge for communication and decision making. Health IT is used to manage medical information in a way that protects patient privacy and ensures the secure exchange of electronic health records between health consumers, health professionals, insurers, and other health team members.

Health IT can include electronic health records (EHRs), personal health records, e-mail communication, clinical alerts, e-prescribing systems, computerized decision-support systems, and other technologies that store, protect, retrieve, and transfer clinical, administrative, and financial information electronically within health care systems.

Health IT adoption is intended to prevent medical errors, reduce health care costs, increase administrative efficiencies, decrease paperwork, expand access to affordable care, and improve health care quality. Current efforts are aimed at improving individual patient care while providing public health benefits such as the early detection of infectious disease outbreaks.

Web Sites

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ): National Resource Center for Health Information Technology
State-by-state database of AHRQ-funded projects with a wide range of health IT applications; a calendar of events; funding opportunities, planning, implementation, and evaluation tools; and a knowledge library containing reports on lessons learned, best practices, and other selected resources.

Alliance for Health Reform: Health Information Technology
Briefings, documents, and publications, including A Reporter’s Toolkit: Health Information Technology. A list of experts on health IT is also provided.

American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP): Center for Health Information Technology
News and events, tutorials on adopting electronic health records (EHRs), online implementation tools, continuing education materials, and links to health IT projects and programs (including collaborations and federal initiatives).

Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT)
Updated criteria for certification, lists of CCHIT-certified products, news, analysis, and discussion about EHRs and personal health records. CCHIT is an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to accelerate the adoption of EHRs.

e-Health Initiative
An overview of Health IT issues, resource files (searchable by category and keyword), and directories of programs and HIT coordinators. The e-Health Initiative is a national organization that focuses on addressing quality, safety, and efficiency challenges of the health care system through the use of interoperable information technology.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA): Health Information Technology and Quality Improvement
Guidelines, lessons learned from health IT grantees, and other materials and resources related to EHRs, Health Center Networks, integrated information and communication technology, health IT for underserved populations, telehealth, and quality improvement. Health Information Technology
Health IT background brief, key data, policy research, webcasts, presentations, and organizations. Includes links to reports, journal articles, and related KaiserEDU resources.

National Conference of State Legislatures: Health Information Technology
Database of articles and publications on electronic and personal health records, e-prescribing, health information exchange, privacy, telemedicine, and other issues.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
Overview of health IT, national initiatives, regulations, and guidance. Includes links to federal programs, advisory committees, news events, resources, and funding opportunities.

Over 18 million citations and abstracts from MEDLINE and other life science journals for biomedical articles indexed by the National Library of Medicine back to the 1950s, with links to full text of articles when available.

Search tips: Enter the term “medical records systems, computerized” in the search box. Click Show additional filters, and choose the box for Humans and the box for English (or other desired language). Then click Search. Or use related terms such as “electronic prescribing,” or ‘computer communication network,” or “medical informatics.”

To narrow your search, add terms such as “child health services” or “maternal health services.” Also limit the search by date (using additional filters) to retrieve only more recent items.

Authors: Beth DeFrancis Sun, M.L.S.; Olivia K. Pickett, M.S., M.L.S., MCH Digital Library
December 2012

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U02MC31613, MCH Advanced Education Policy, $3.5 M. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.