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Developing and assessing health information technologies: opportunities and challenges
  1. Matthew Thomas Neame1,
  2. Kathrin Cresswell2,
  3. Ian Sinha3,
  4. Daniel B Hawcutt4,5
  1. 1 Department of General Paediatrics, Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool, UK
  2. 2 The University of Edinburgh, Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, Edinburgh, UK
  3. 3 Department of Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool, UK
  4. 4 National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Facility, Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool, UK
  5. 5 Department of Women's and Children's Health, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Daniel B Hawcutt, National Institute for Health Research, Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Clinical Research Facility, Liverpool L14 5AB, UK; dhawcutt{at}

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Internationally, billions of dollars have been invested in Health Information Technologies (HITs).1 In the UK, digitally enabled care forms a key pillar of the NHS long term plan, and responses to COVID-19 have been underpinned by data sharing and the use of new technologies.

However, HITs represent a wide range of interventions used for storing, analysing or sharing electronic clinical data. They can be highly complex with wide-ranging impacts on health systems (eg, hospital-wide patient records (EPRs) or more focused interventions that are designed to solve specific clinical problems (eg, a dose checking algorithm). These variations mean that developing and assessing HITs can be challenging. There may also be disagreement about the main objectives for using/implementing digital interventions; their impacts can evolve unpredictably over time and there is a lack of agreement about how to define and measure whether HITs have been successful. These factors can be particularly relevant in paediatric settings where HITs may need to be reconfigured for children’s health and care needs, and where there may be specific legal and regulatory frameworks that need additional consideration.2

This article aims to provide an overview of how HIT development, implementation and assessment approaches can be used to overcome these challenges so that the most effective HITs can be selected for use in clinical practice. A real-world case study is included in figure 1 to illustrate how the principles described in the overview can be applied in practice.3

Figure 1

Case study describing the implementation and evaluation of dose range checking software in a children’s hospital in the UK.

Defining development, implementation and assessment objectives

HITs should be …

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  • Contributors The manuscript was conceptualised and developed by MTN with validation and input from IS, DH and KC. The original draft of the manuscript was written by MTN. Contributions to reviewing and editing the manuscript were provided by KC, IS and DH.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Disclaimer This is independent research carried out at the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Alder Hey Clinical Research Facility (CRF). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.