Dictated versus database-generated discharge summaries: a randomized clinical trial.
BACKGROUND: Hospital discharge summaries communicate information necessary for continuing patient care. They are most commonly generated by voice dictation and are often of poor quality. The objective of this study was to compare discharge summaries created by voice dictation with those generated from a clinical database. METHODS: A randomized clinical trial was performed in which discharge summaries for patients discharged from a general internal medicine service at a tertiary care teaching hospital in Ottawa were created by voice dictation (151 patients) or from a database (142 patients). Patients had been admitted between September 1996 and June 1997. The trial was preceded by a baseline cohort study in which all summaries were created by dictation. For the database group, information on forms completed by housestaff was entered into a database and collated into a discharge summary. For the dictation group, housestaff dictated narrative letters. The proportion of patients for whom a summary was generated within 4 weeks of discharge was recorded. Physicians receiving the summary rated its quality, completeness, organization and timeliness on a 100-mm visual analogue scale. Housestaff preference was also determined. RESULTS: Patients in the database group and the dictation group were similar. A summary was much more likely to be generated within 4 weeks of discharge for patients in the database group than for those in the dictation group (113 [79.6%] v. 86 [57.0%]; p < 0.001). Summary quality was similar (mean rating 72.7 [standard deviation (SD) 19.3] v. 74.9 [SD 16.6]), as were assessments of completeness (73.4 [SD 19.8] v. 78.2 [SD 14.9]), organization (77.4 [SD 16.3] v. 79.3 [SD 17.2]) and timeliness (70.3 [SD 21.9] v. 66.2 [SD 25.6]). Many information items of interest were more likely to be included in the database-generated summaries. The database system created summaries faster and was preferred by housestaff. Dictated summaries in the baseline and randomized studies were similar, which indicated that the control group was not substantially different from the baseline cohort. INTERPRETATION: The database system significantly increased the likelihood that a discharge summary was created. Housestaff preferred the database system for summary generation. Physicians thought that the quality of summaries generated by the 2 methods was similar. The use of computer databases to create hospital discharge summaries is promising and merits further study and refinement. (+info)
Record-linkage for pharmacovigilance in Scotland.
Record-linkage is the linkage of patient-specific information that is stored separately. Recent advances in computerization have meant that record-linkage techniques in medical research are increasingly being used and refined. In particular, they have made a significant contribution to pharmacovigilance, which involves linking drug exposure to outcomes data. In this article, the contribution of record-linkage in Scotland to medical research is described. The two organizations that utilize record-linkage techniques are the Medicines Monitoring Unit (MEMO) of the University of Dundee and the Information and Statistics Division (ISD) of the NHS in Scotland. Pharmacovigilance is MEMO's main concern (using data from the Tayside region of Scotland), while ISD link health care datasets for Scotland for general health care research. The experience of the two groups is now being combined to carry out drug safety studies in the entire population of Scotland. (+info)
Measuring the effects of reminders for outpatient influenza immunizations at the point of clinical opportunity.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the influence of computer-based reminders about influenza vaccination on the behavior of individual clinicians at each clinical opportunity. DESIGN: The authors conducted a prospective study of clinicians' influenza vaccination behavior over four years. Approximately one half of the clinicians in an internal medicine clinic used a computer-based patient record system (CPR users) that generated computer-based reminders. The other clinicians used traditional paper records (PR users). MEASUREMENTS: Each nonacute visit by a patient eligible for an influenza vaccination was considered an opportunity for intervention. Patients who had contraindications for vaccination were excluded. Compliance with the guideline was defined as documentation that a clinician ordered the vaccine, counseled the patient about the vaccine, offered the vaccine to a patient who declined it, or verified that the patient had received the vaccine elsewhere. The authors calculated the proportion of opportunities on which each clinician documented action in the CPR and PR user groups. RESULTS: The CPR and PR user groups had different baseline compliance rates (40.1 and 27.9 per cent, respectively; P<0.05). Both rates remained stable during a two-year baseline period (P = 0.34 and P = 0.47, respectively). The compliance rates in the CPR user group increased 78 per cent from baseline (P<0.001), whereas the rates for the PR user group did not change significantly (P = 0.18). CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians who used a CPR with reminders had higher rates of documentation of compliance with influenza-vaccination guidelines than did those who used a paper record. Measurements of individual clinician behavior at the point of each clinical opportunity can provide precise evaluation of interventions that are designed to improve compliance with guidelines. (+info)
The limited use of digital ink in the private-sector primary care physician's office.
Two of the greatest obstacles to the implementation of the standardized electronic medical record are physician and staff acceptance and the development of a complete standardized medical vocabulary. Physicians have found the familiar desktop computer environment cumbersome in the examination room and the coding and hierarchic structure of existing vocabulary inadequate. The author recommends the use of digital ink, the graphic form of the pen computer, in telephone messaging and as a supplement in the examination room encounter note. A key concept in this paper is that the development of a standard electronic medical record cannot occur without the thorough evaluation of the office environment and physicians' concerns. This approach reveals a role for digital ink in telephone messaging and as a supplement to the encounter note. It is hoped that the utilization of digital ink will foster greater physician participation in the development of the electronic medical record. (+info)
General practice registration networks in the Netherlands: a brief report.
In the Netherlands, several general practice registrations exist. Groups of general practitioners register elements of patient care according to agreed-upon criteria, and these data are collected in a central database. By means of a questionnaire the authors interviewed the managers of all nine computerized registration networks extensively about the possibilities and limitations of their registration. In addition, respondents answered some questions with data from the central database of their network. Various items are collected by nearly all the registration networks, while other items are collected by only one network. Answering questions with data from the central database turned out to be difficult. Organization and manpower are the main obstacles. (+info)
Using a multidisciplinary automated discharge summary process to improve information management across the system.
We developed and implemented an automated discharge summary process in a regional integrated managed health system. This multidisciplinary effort was initiated to correct deficits in patients' medical record documentation involving discharge instructions, follow-up care, discharge medications, and patient education. The results of our team effort included an automated summary that compiles data entered via computer pathways during a patient's hospitalization. All information regarding admission medications, patient education, follow-up care, referral at discharge activities, diagnosis, and other pertinent medical events are formulated into the discharge summary, discharge orders, patient discharge instructions, and transfer information as applicable. This communication process has tremendously enhanced information management across the system and helps us maintain complete and thorough documentation in patient records. (+info)
Improving clinician acceptance and use of computerized documentation of coded diagnosis.
After the Northwest Division of Kaiser Permanente implemented EpicCare, a comprehensive electronic medical record, clinicians were required to directly document orders and diagnoses on this computerized system, a task they found difficult and time consuming. We analyzed the sources of this problem to improve the process and increase its acceptance by clinicians. One problem was the use of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-9) as our coding scheme, even though ICD-9 is not a complete nomenclature of diseases and using it as such creates difficulties. In addition, the synonym list we used had some inaccurate associations, contributing to clinician frustration. Furthermore, the initial software program contained no adequate mechanism for adding qualifying comments or preferred terminology. We sought to address all these issues. Strategies included adjusting the available coding choices and descriptions and modifying the medical record software. In addition, the software vendor developed a utility that allows clinicians to replace the ICD-9 description with their own preferred terminology while preserving the ICD-9 code. We present an evaluation of this utility. (+info)
The validity and usage of resource utilization data among a group of primary care physicians.
The use of individual resource utilization scores to compare primary care physicians (PCPs) has become more commonplace as managed care organizations (MCOs) increase their penetration into the US healthcare market. This study looks at the validity and usage of these scores among a group of PCPs within a multispecialty clinic that is part of an integrated managed care network. Personal interviews were conducted with PCPs; and reviews were done of the practice site paper charts, the computerized visit record system of the clinic and affiliated hospital, and the MCO-supplied resource utilization data on the 25 patients of each PCP on whom the most healthcare dollars were spent in 1995. As of October 1996, few PCPs had done more than a cursory review of their resource utilization data. None had identified the patients who use the most resources or developed any methods to proactively manage those patients with a history of high utilization. The clinic's communication systems alerted the PCPs less than 50% of the time when patients for whom they were responsible had high utilization of services. Patients appeared to be assigned to the incorrect PCP more than 20% of the time. All players in this managed care network--PCPs, clinic administration, and the MCO--must work together to improve the current system before resource utilization data are considered valid and are incorporated more fully into clinical practice. (+info)