Background. In 2005, an innovative system of hospital-community, on-line medical records (OFEK) was introduced in Clalit Health Services (CHS). Goals. To examine OFEK's use and impact on quality indicators and medical-service utilisation in CHS primary-care clinics. Methods. Examining the frequency of OFEK's use with its own track-log data; comparing 'before' and 'after' quality indicators and service utilisation of experimental versus control clinics. Results. Use of OFEK increased by hundreds of percent between 2005 and 2006, continued rising at a slower rate in 2007 and decreased slightly in 2008. At clinics in catchment areas of hospitals using OFEK extensively, OFEK reduced the number of imaging tests and, to a lesser extent, laboratory testing and improved several quality measures. An examination of all clinics in the catchment areas and in the study revealed a much weaker impact. Conclusions. OFEK's introduction affected a number of outcome measures - some, significantly - in medical and financial terms. Its increased use at additional clinics may exert a stronger impact there, too. The study contributes to the development of measures to examine the impact of such systems, which can be used to assess a broad range of Health Information Technology (HIT) systems.
- Health information technology
- health plans
- health services utilisation
- primary care clinics
- quality of care