Informatics systems to promote improved care for chronic illness: a literature review

J Am Med Inform Assoc. Mar-Apr 2007;14(2):156-63. doi: 10.1197/jamia.M2255. Epub 2007 Jan 9.


Objective: To understand information systems components important in supporting team-based care of chronic illness through a literature search.

Design: Systematic search of literature from 1996-2005 for evaluations of information systems used in the care of chronic illness.

Measurements: The relationship of design, quality, information systems components, setting, and other factors with process, quality outcomes, and health care costs was evaluated.

Results: In all, 109 articles were reviewed involving 112 information system descriptions. Chronic diseases targeted included diabetes (42.9% of reviewed articles), heart disease (36.6%), and mental illness (23.2%), among others. System users were primarily physicians, nurses, and patients. Sixty-seven percent of reviewed experiments had positive outcomes; 94% of uncontrolled, observational studies claimed positive results. Components closely correlated with positive experimental results were connection to an electronic medical record, computerized prompts, population management (including reports and feedback), specialized decision support, electronic scheduling, and personal health records. Barriers identified included costs, data privacy and security concerns, and failure to consider workflow. CONCLUSION The majority of published studies revealed a positive impact of specific health information technology components on chronic illness care. Implications for future research and system designs are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease / therapy*
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Information Systems*
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Quality of Health Care