The CAHPS Health Information Technology Item Set is designed to help organizations assess the patient-centeredness of physician practices and groups that have adopted different kinds of information technologies. These supplemental items for the Clinician & Group Survey focus on patients' experiences with health information technology (HIT) in a physician's office. Increasingly common uses of HIT include secure electronic messaging, electronic medical records, medication lists, personal health records, and appointment scheduling.

The Health Information Technology (HIT) Item Set has been incorporated into the Supplemental Items for the Adult 12-Month Survey ( PDF [ PDF file - 530.42 KB] ), which also includes instructions for placing the items into the core questionnaire. The items are currently available in English; a Spanish version is in development.

Read About the Health Information Technology Item Set. ( PDF [ PDF file - 219.39 KB] )

To download both the supplemental items and the descriptive document, go to: Get Clinician & Group Surveys and Instructions.

Topics Covered by the Health Information Technology Item Set

The Health Information Technology Item Set addresses the following topic areas:

  • Helpfulness of information technologies; for example:
  • Lab or other test results on the provider’s Web site were timely, easy to find, and easy to understand.
    • Visit notes were easy to understand.
    • E-mail communication/Web messaging.
  • Experience with e-prescribing.
  • Physician use of computers and hand-held devices during visits.

Quality Measures from the Health Information Technology Item Set

Users of this item set can calculate and report three composite measures and one single item measure about access to appointments:

  • Helpfulness of provider’s use of computers during a visit
  • Getting timely answers to medical questions by e-mail
  • Helpfulness of provider’s website in giving you information about your care and tests
  • Getting timely appointments through e-mail or a website (1 item only)

The remaining questions in the item set cannot be rolled up into composite measures.

Learn more about these measures in About the Health Information Technology Set. ( PDF [ PDF file - 219.39 KB] )

Brief History

Over the past several years, many physicians across the country have been incorporating various forms of health information technology into their practices. The pace of change is expected to accelerate as more physician groups yield to pressure from public and private purchasers to adopt technologies that promise to improve the quality and efficiency of care.

To assess the impact of these technologies on patients, AHRQ asked the CAHPS Consortium to develop an item set that will enable survey sponsors to capture both the positive and negative effects of HIT in the practice setting from the patients' perspective. For example, how do electronic medical records (EMRs) and personal health records (PHRs) affect the timeliness of care, physician-patient communication, coordination of care, and the accessibility of information? Does HIT change the patients' perceptions of involvement in, and sense of control over, their health?

Learn about the development of the Health Information Technology Item Set.