Supporting Patient Care by Using Innovative Information Technology
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- Ammenwerth, E., Ehlers, F., Kutscha, U. et al. Dis-Manage-Health-Outcomes (2002) 10: 479. doi:10.2165/00115677-200210080-00004
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Healthcare institutions, such as hospitals, are made up of highly distributed and complex organizational structures and processes. As such there is an increasingly large number of information interfaces between various involved healthcare professionals, making efficient organization of patient care and disease management difficult. Innovative information technology, such as electronic patient record systems, may have the potential to support patient care by improving information logistics and information management.
In this paper, we present a case study dealing with the use of information technology in clinical psychiatry. We first present the results of a detailed systems analysis which showed large deficiencies within multi-professional patient care in the psychiatry department, such as missing central representation of the course of patient care, and an enormous amount of oral communication. These deficiencies can be overcome by a central patient record, supporting all phases of care and all professional groups. We present an electronic record system, implementing these recommendations, as an example to support the nursing part of the process of care. Such a system was introduced and evaluated on two psychiatric wards of the University Medical Center Heidelberg. The evaluation results show improved quality of documentation and a better support of the care process.