Objectives: To investigate the relationship between the use of health information technology (HIT) and physician perceptions of providing high-quality care and to determine whether this relationship has changed over time.
Study design: We used 2 waves of longitudinal data from the Community Tracking Study Physician Surveys, 2000-2001 and 2004-2005.
Methods: Three measures of HIT were examined: a binary variable measuring the use of at least 1 type of HIT, a continuous variable measuring the total number of HIT types, and a binary variable measuring use of all 5 HIT types related to "meaningful use" of HIT as defined by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Three multivariate models were estimated to study the effect of each HIT measure on physicians' perception of providing high-quality care. Individual fixed-effects estimation also was used to control for individual time-invariant factors.
Results: Using at least 1 type of HIT significantly enhanced physicians' perception of providing high-quality care in 2000-2001, but not in 2004-2005. The marginal effect of adding 1 extra HIT type was positive and statistically significant in both periods. The association between using all 5 HIT types related to meaningful use and perceived quality was statistically significant in 2000-2001, but not in 2004-2005.
Conclusions: Health information technology has become a multifunctional system and appears to have enhanced physicians' perception of providing high-quality care. Physicians' perceptions of medical care quality improved as the number of HIT types used increased. This study supports more extensive use of HIT in physician practices.