Transforming Healthcare Quality through Health IT (2004-2010)

Overview | Findings from the THQIT Grants | Podcasts Highlighting Successful Projects | Quality Improvement Stories | Peer-reviewed Literature from Select THQIT GranteesHealth IT Implementation Stories


In late 2003, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) published four requests for applications (RFAs) which comprised the Transforming Healthcare Quality through Information Technology (THQIT) program:

  • Transforming Healthcare Quality Through Information Technology - Planning Grants
  • Transforming Healthcare Quality Through Information Technology—Implementation Grants
  • Limited Competition for AHRQ Transforming Healthcare Quality through Information Technology—Implementation Grants
  • Demonstrating the Value of Health Information Technology

Under the THQIT program, 118 grantees planned, implemented, and studied the value of health IT across a wide range of care settings, communities, and types of health IT systems.

Findings from the Transforming Healthcare Quality Through IT (THQIT) Grants

AHRQ and its contractors, Mathematica Policy Research and Geisinger Health System, worked together to synthesize the experience of the THQIT grantees. The team completed a systematic review of the planning and implementation grantee final reports and other available publications, surveyed the grantees, and conducted semi-structured qualitative interviews with a subset of grantees.

Report Cover for Sustainability, Partnerships and Teamwork in Health IT Implementation

Sustainability, Partnerships, and Teamwork in Health IT Implementation: Essential Findings From the Transforming Healthcare Quality Through IT Grants [View the full report (PDF, 6.12 MB)] 

This report synthesizes findings across several sources, focusing specifically on sustainability, partnerships, and effective teamwork—which were recognized by THQIT grantees as critical aspects of successful health IT implementation. The goal is to provide relevant information to those currently working toward health IT implementation.

Appendix B - Planning Checklist for Rural and Community Hospitals Considering Implementing HIT


Appendix B: Getting Ready - A Planning Checklist for Rural and Community Hospitals Considering Implementing Health IT (PDF, 2.14 MB) 

This checklist is designed to help rural and/or community-based hospitals assess their level of preparation for health IT implementation.


Appendix C - Success Story


Appendix C: Success Story - Partners Use Electronic Health Records to Steer Quality Improvement (PDF, 2.03 MB)

This case story describes how an EHR with evidence-based decision support technology and an electronic data warehouse for tracking quality of care was implemented by 32 community health centers across 11 States.

Podcasts Highlighting Successful Projects

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Quality Improvement Stories

Using Health IT: Eight Quality Improvement Stories [View the full report (PDF, 2.06 MB) ].

The following eight case studies represent the positive potential of a diverse set of health IT applications and point to some issues and challenges that must be addressed to realize the potential more broadly.
  Female nurse

Emergency Medical Service Responders Use Health IT to Improve Cardiac Care (PDF, 110.54 KB)
Principal Investigator: Harry P. Selker (Grant No. UC1 HS015124)
Emergency Medical Service agencies use a Web-based quality reporting system and clinical decision support technology to improve the timeliness and quality of care provided to patients experiencing or at risk of a heart attack.

  Female nurse

Nursing Home Health IT Reduces Pressure Ulcers and Increases Staff’s Job Satisfaction (PDF, 144.42 KB)
Principal Investigator: Susan D. Horn (Grant No. UC1 HS015350)
Nursing homes bring health IT into long-term care to improve quality and provide guidance on translating health IT implementation lessons to new settings.

  Map of the World

Project ECHO: Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes Through Telemedicine (PDF, 176.64 KB)
Principal Investigator: Sanjeev Arora (Grant No. UC1 HS015135)
Through telemedicine clinics, Project ECHO provided new access to high-quality local care for rural New Mexico residents with hepatitis C. Building on this experience, the project has also initiated telemedicine clinics for other complex conditions.

Picture of the State of Iowa

Network of Rural Hospitals in Iowa Redesign Patient Care Workflow to Use Electronic Health Records (PDF, 114.44 KB)
Principal Investigator: Donald K. Crandall (Grant No. UC1 HS015196)
A rural referral center implemented an EHR system and simultaneously redesigned many aspects of care delivery, improving patient safety and producing a host of new knowledge and tools for more effective EHR implementation.

Children leaving school
Public-Private Partnership Creates Web-Based System to Improve Rural Children’s Access to Health Care Through a Medical Home (PDF, 117.50 KB)
Principal Investigator: Gregory W. Bergner (Grant Nos. UC1 HS016129 and P20 HS014908)
A Web-based application that enables community health workers to ensure that patients obtain needed access to health coverage and primary care.
Picture of the State of Oklahoma

Replication of Health Information Exchange Framework Across Oklahoma (PDF, 96.95 KB)
Principal Investigator: Mark H. Jones (Grant Nos. UC1 HS016131 and P20 HS015364)
Using a "network of networks" model in Oklahoma makes a statewide health information exchange possible.

Diagram showing electronic prescriptions and drug costs

Electronic Prescribing: Lowering Patients' Prescription Drug Costs (PDF, 106.23 KB)
Principal Investigator: Joel S. Weissman (Grant No. R01 HS015175)
Providing prescribers with real-time information on the relative costs of drugs can significantly increase the use of lower cost medications.

Doctor examining a child's heart

Integrated Telemedicine System Demonstrates Reduction in Children’s Emergency Department Visits (PDF, 115.97 KB)
Principal Investigator: Kenneth M. McConnochie (Grant No. R01 HS015165)
A telemedicine system to connect schools and child care centers to primary care physicians for telehealth consultation is expanded, resulting in reduced use of emergency departments.

Peer-reviewed Literature from Select THQIT Grantees

The AHRQ Health IT Value Grant Initiative: A Programmatic Review of the Peer-Reviewed Literature (PDF, 260 KB).

This report examines peer-reviewed findings published by grantees funded under the Demonstrating the Value of Health Information Technology initiative. The primary purpose of this initiative was to fund projects to increase knowledge and understanding of the value of health IT in improving patient safety and quality of care. 

This review provides a snapshot of the value of health IT as it is being implemented, discussing the opportunities for and impediments to the realization of the goals of this grant initiative.

Health IT Implementation Stories 

Following are the stories and lessons learned from some of the pioneering projects funded under the Transforming Healthcare Quality through Health IT program.