Formative evaluation: a critical component in EHR implementation

J Am Med Inform Assoc. May-Jun 2008;15(3):297-301. doi: 10.1197/jamia.M2584. Epub 2008 Feb 28.


This Viewpoint paper has grown out of a presentation at the American College of Medical Informatics 2007 Winter Symposium, the resulting discussion, and several activities that have coalesced around an issue that most informaticians accept as true but is not commonly considered during the implementation of Electronic Health Records (EHR) outside of academia or research institutions. Successful EHR implementation is facilitated and sometimes determined by formative evaluation, usually focusing on process rather than outcomes. With greater federal funding for the implementation of electronic health record systems in health care organizations unfamiliar with research protocols, the need for formative evaluation assistance is growing. Such assistance, in the form of tools and protocols necessary to do formative evaluation and resulting in successful EHR implementations, should be provided by practicing medical informaticians.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Evaluation Studies as Topic*
  • Health Facility Administration
  • Health Plan Implementation / economics
  • Health Plan Implementation / organization & administration*
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized* / economics
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized* / organization & administration