During the last years the significance of evaluation studies as well as the interest in adequate methods and approaches for evaluation has grown in medical informatics. In order to put this discussion into a historical context, we conducted a systematic overview on trends in evaluation research of information technology in health care 1982 – 2002.
The inventory is based on a systematic literature search in PubMed. Each of the found 1.035 papers from 1982 – 2002 was indexed based on a taxonomy coding type of information system, clinical domain, research strategy, evaluation methods, setting and evaluation criteria.
We found interesting developments in evaluation research in the last 20 years. For example, there has been a shift from medical journals to medical informatics journals. With regard to methods, explanative research and quantitative methods have dominated evaluation studies in the last 20 years. From 1982 to today, the number of lab studies and technical aspects has declined, while the number of studies focusing on process quality or outcome quality of patient care has increased. Based on our results, we are inclined to talk of a kind of maturation of evaluation studies in medical informatics research.
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