Governance's role in local health departments' information system and technology usage

Joshua Vest, Nir Menachemi, Eric W. Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: The purpose of this article is to explore the relationship between local health departments' (LHDs') governance structures and their use of information systems (IS) and information technologies (IT). As the US health system moves toward more integrated models of delivering care, LHDs have been identified as key nexus for information exchange. Therefore, understanding how LHDs' governance facilitates or inhibits the adoption and use of such IS and IT tools is critical. Design: The 2008 survey of the National Association of County and City Health Officials' members included a set of questions dedicated to the use of IS/IT and its relationship to governance structures. Ordinal logistic and Poisson regressions are used to identify significant relationships among the variables. The survey sample's results (n = 473) are extended to the national sample (N = 2794) using the variable weightings included in the study design. Main Outcome Measures: The 2 dependent variables examined are IS and IT use. The IS variable captures the software and analytic tools used in LHDs. The IT measure primarily captures hardware and infrastructure capabilities. Results: Overall, the use of IS/IT by LHDs is low. Generally, LHDs that have shared governance structures with other state and community bodies tended to have greater IS/IT use. Similarly, larger LHDs with leaders that have higher educational levels used IS/IT in greater amounts. Conclusions: With their current IS/IT capability levels, LHDs will struggle to play a meaningful role in the integration and exchange of health information. Given that LHD also serve at-risk populations in disproportionate numbers, this digital divide may become a real divide in the access to high quality care for some communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-168
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

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Health Information Systems
Medical Informatics
Information Systems
Technology
Health
Quality of Health Care
Software
Logistic Models
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)

Keywords

  • health information technology
  • organizational structure
  • public health administration
  • public health informatics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Governance's role in local health departments' information system and technology usage. / Vest, Joshua; Menachemi, Nir; Ford, Eric W.

In: Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, Vol. 18, No. 2, 01.03.2012, p. 160-168.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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