September 22, 2016

Health Information Technologies — Academic and Commercial Evaluation (HIT-ACE) methodology: Description and application to clinical feedback systems


Aaron R. LyonCara C. Lewis, Abigail Melvin, Meredith Boyd, Semret NicodimosFreda F. LiuNathaniel Jungbluth

University of Washington affiliated authors are displayed in bold.

✪ Open Access

Published: September 2016

Read the full text in the open access journal Implementation Science



Health information technologies (HIT) have become nearly ubiquitous in the contemporary healthcare landscape, but information about HIT development, functionality, and implementation readiness is frequently siloed. Theory-driven methods of compiling, evaluating, and integrating information from the academic and commercial sectors are necessary to guide stakeholder decision-making surrounding HIT adoption and to develop pragmatic HIT research agendas. This article presents the Health Information Technologies—Academic and Commercial Evaluation (HIT-ACE) methodology, a structured, theory-driven method for compiling and evaluating information from multiple sectors. As an example demonstration of the methodology, we apply HIT-ACE to mental and behavioral health measurement feedback systems (MFS). MFS are a specific class of HIT that support the implementation of routine outcome monitoring, an evidence-based practice.


HIT-ACE is guided by theories and frameworks related to user-centered design and implementation science. The methodology involves four phases: (1) coding academic and commercial materials, (2) developer/purveyor interviews, (3) linking putative implementation mechanisms to hit capabilities, and (4) experimental testing of capabilities and mechanisms. In the current demonstration, phase 1 included a systematic process to identify MFS in mental and behavioral health using academic literature and commercial websites. Using user-centered design, implementation science, and feedback frameworks, the HIT-ACE coding system was developed, piloted, and used to review each identified system for the presence of 38 capabilities and 18 additional characteristics via a consensus coding process. Bibliometic data were also collected to examine the representation of the systems in the scientific literature. As an example, results are presented for the application of HIT-ACE phase 1 to MFS wherein 49 separate MFS were identified, reflecting a diverse array of characteristics and capabilities.


Preliminary findings demonstrate the utility of HIT-ACE to represent the scope and diversity of a given class of HIT beyond what can be identified in the academic literature. Phase 2 data collection is expected to confirm and expand the information presented and phases 3 and 4 will provide more nuanced information about the impact of specific HIT capabilities. In all, HIT-ACE is expected to support adoption decisions and additional HIT development and implementation research.

**This abstract is posted with permission under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License**