Appl Clin Inform 2017; 08(01): 149-161
DOI: 10.4338/ACI-2016-06-RA-0083
Research Article
Schattauer GmbH

Measuring Practicing Clinicians’ Information Literacy

An Exploratory Analysis in the Context of Panel Management
Brian E Dixon
1  Center for Health Information and Communication, Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Health Services Research and Development Service CIN 13-416, Indianapolis, IN, USA
2  Richard M Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN, USA
3  Center for Biomedical Informatics, Regenstrief Institute, Indianapolis, IN, USA
,
Katherine Barboza
4  VA New York Harbor Healthcare System, 423 E 23 Street, New York, NY, USA
,
Ashley E Jensen
4  VA New York Harbor Healthcare System, 423 E 23 Street, New York, NY, USA
5  New York University School of Medicine, 462 1st Avenue, New York, NY, USA
,
Katelyn J Bennett
4  VA New York Harbor Healthcare System, 423 E 23 Street, New York, NY, USA
5  New York University School of Medicine, 462 1st Avenue, New York, NY, USA
,
Scott E Sherman
5  New York University School of Medicine, 462 1st Avenue, New York, NY, USA
4  VA New York Harbor Healthcare System, 423 E 23 Street, New York, NY, USA
,
Mark D Schwartz
4  VA New York Harbor Healthcare System, 423 E 23 Street, New York, NY, USA
5  New York University School of Medicine, 462 1st Avenue, New York, NY, USA
› Author Affiliations
Funding This publication is derived from work supported under grants from VA HSR&D (EDU 08-428 and CIN 13-416). The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States government.
Further Information

Correspondence to:

Brian E Dixon, MPA, PhD
Regenstrief Institute
1101 W. 10th St., RF 336
Indianapolis, Indiana 46202

Publication History

Received: 01 June 2016

Accepted: 05 February 2016

Publication Date:
20 December 2017 (online)

 

Summary

Background: As healthcare moves towards technology-driven population health management, clinicians must adopt complex digital platforms to access health information and document care. Objectives: This study explored information literacy, a set of skills required to effectively navigate population health information systems, among primary care providers in one Veterans’ Affairs (VA) medical center.

Methods: Information literacy was assessed during an 8-month randomized trial that tested a population health (panel) management intervention. Providers were asked about their use and comfort with two VA digital tools for panel management at baseline, 16 weeks, and post-intervention. An 8-item scale (range 0-40) was used to measure information literacy (Cronbach’s α=0.84). Scores between study arms and provider types were compared using paired t-tests and ANOVAs. Associations between self-reported digital tool use and information literacy were measured via Pearson’s correlations.

Results: Providers showed moderate levels of information literacy (M= 27.4, SD 6.5). There were no significant differences in mean information literacy between physicians (M=26.4, SD 6.7) and nurses (M=30.5, SD 5.2, p=0.57 for difference), or between intervention (M=28.4, SD 6.5) and control groups (M=25.1, SD 6.2, p=0.12 for difference). Information literacy was correlated with higher rates of self-reported information system usage (r=0.547, p=0.001). Clinicians identified data access, accuracy, and interpretability as potential information literacy barriers.

Conclusions: While exploratory in nature, cautioning generalizability, the study suggests that measuring and improving clinicians’ information literacy may play a significant role in the implementation and use of digital information tools, as these tools are rapidly being deployed to enhance communication among care teams, improve health care outcomes, and reduce overall costs.


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Conflicts of interest

Several authors (BED, KJB, SES, MDS) are employed at either the VA New York Harbor Healthcare Systems in New York, New York, or the Richard L Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. As such, they receive at least a portion of their annual salary from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.


Correspondence to:

Brian E Dixon, MPA, PhD
Regenstrief Institute
1101 W. 10th St., RF 336
Indianapolis, Indiana 46202