To read this content please select one of the options below:

Data and HIT systems in primary care settings: an analysis of perceptions and use

Sophia D. Arabadjis (Geography, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California, USA)
Erin E. Sullivan (Sawyer Business School, Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA) (Center for Primary Care, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)

Journal of Health Organization and Management

ISSN: 1477-7266

Article publication date: 24 December 2020

Issue publication date: 8 June 2021




Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and other Health Information Technologies (HITs) pose significant challenges for clinicians, administrators and managers in the field of primary care. While there is an abundance of literature on the challenges of HIT systems in primary care, there are also practices where HITs are well-integrated and useful for care delivery. This study aims to (1) understand how exemplary primary care practices conceptualized data and HIT system use in their care delivery and (2) describe components that support and promote data and HIT system use in care delivery.


This paper is a sub-analysis of a larger qualitative data set on exemplary primary care in which data was collected using in-depth interviews, observations, field notes and primary source documents from week-long site visits at each organization. Using a combination of qualitative analysis methods including elements of thematic analysis, discourse analysis, and qualitative comparison analysis, we examined HIT-related data across six exemplary primary care organizations.


Three key components were identified that underlie engagement with data and HIT systems: data audience identification, defined data purpose and structures for participation in both data design and maintenance.


Within the context of primary care, these findings have implications for effective integration of HIT systems into primary care delivery.



The authors wish to thank Taylor Weilnau for her attention to detail and general technical support in our paper writing process. We also wish to thank Kathleen Dwiel for her early edits and guidance. Finally, we are indebted to Chris Louis for his careful comments, close reading of our final manuscript and votes of confidence.


Arabadjis, S.D. and Sullivan, E.E. (2021), "Data and HIT systems in primary care settings: an analysis of perceptions and use", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 35 No. 4, pp. 425-442.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles