Evidence Summary

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Key messages from scientific research that's ready to be acted on

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Some health information technologies improve clinical outcomes that are important to patients

Finkelstein J, Knight A, Marinopoulos S, et al. Enabling patient-centered care through health information technology. Evid Rep Technol Assess. 2012;206:1-1531.

Review question

What is the impact of health information technology on patient-centered care?


Patient-centered care is responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values.

Experts agree on the importance of patient-centered care. It is a challenge to find ways of delivering it.

Health information technology is the use of computer systems to help with patient care delivery.

How the review was done

This is a summary of a systematic review of 327 studies published since 1998.

184 randomized controlled trials looked at the impact of health information technologies on patient-centered care.

206 studies looked at barriers and facilitators for adopting health information technologies.

The studies had diverse populations (from 10 patients to more than 1,000), diverse settings, and a wide range of interventions.

Studies evaluated processes of care, outcomes, responsiveness to patient needs, joint decision-making and communication between patients and care providers, access to information, improved health knowledge and behavior, satisfaction, and costs.

What the researchers found

Some patient-centered information technologies have a positive effect on the outcomes for these conditions:

  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • cancer
  • hypertension
  • asthma
  • mental health
  • smoking cessation

Examples of health information technologies are

  • computerized decision aids to assist patients in making health care choices
  • health care at a distance by video conferencing (telemedicine)
  • remote assessment of patients’ conditions (blood pressure, sugar levels, etc.) by telemonitoring
  • computerized ordering of medications
  • electronic patient records
  • electronic reminders for doctors
  • Internet guidance for managing specific diseases
  • Internet lifestyle counseling (web portals)
  • computer-assisted self-care


Health information technologies with patient-centered components can have a positive effect on health outcomes that matter to patients.


Randomized controlled trials
Studies where people are assigned to one of the treatments purely by chance.
Systematic review
A comprehensive evaluation of the available research evidence on a particular topic.

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