Clinical information systems are considered a cornerstone of modern healthcare. Many authorities, medical societies and physicians recognize the advantages of electronic health records over paper-based medical records and promote the implementation of these systems into clinical practice.
However, the implementation of clinical information systems also bears a risk on several aspects of daily clinical work. Among them, the patient encounter has undergone the most dramatic changes. This is owned to the fact physicians need to interact with the patient and the system quasi simultaneously. This “double” attention of physicians may irritate the patient and bears the risk to create barriers of communication. Second, particularly senior physicians need revisiting their clinical routines and rituals leading to inefficiencies and disturbances of the patient physician encounter. Finally, physicians tend to work in different ways. Some have internalized fairly strict clinical algorithms that they apply on each patient, while others have a more intuitive approach that is guided by the patient’s chief complaints.
In order to be recognized as a true help in daily practice, a clinical information system should accommodate these different working attitudes and it should interrupt the patient encounter as little as possible. These requirements are fairly novel, and many, particularly first generation applications, tend to fail on this.
The projects’ objectives are threefold.
- We seek to understand the different ways of working among physicians in a medical discipline and how these work patterns impact the physician’s clinical information systems requirements
- We conceptualize reusable user interface elements supporting the identified work patterns and test them in an experimental design
- We formalize design principles for clinical information systems to effectively and efficiently support routine patient care in specific medical disciplines.
Kenny Lienhard, Christine Legner