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Electronic health information in use: Characteristics that support employee workflow and patient care.

Russ AL, Saleem JJ, Justice CF, Woodward-Hagg H, Woodbridge PA, Doebbeling BN. Electronic health information in use: Characteristics that support employee workflow and patient care. Health Informatics Journal. 2010 Dec 1; 16(4):287-305.

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The aim of this investigation was to assess helpful and challenging aspects of electronic health information with respect to clinical workflow and identify a set of characteristics that support patient care processes. We conducted 20 semi-structured interviews at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center, with a fully implemented electronic health record (EHR), and elicited positive and negative examples of how information technology (IT) affects the work of healthcare employees. Responses naturally shed light on information characteristics that aid work processes. We performed a secondary analysis on interview data and inductively identified characteristics of electronic information that support healthcare workflow. Participants provided 199 examples of how electronic information affects workflow. Seventeen characteristics emerged along with four primary domains: trustworthy and reliable; ubiquitous; effectively displayed; and adaptable to work demands. Each characteristic may be used to help evaluate health information technology pre- and post-implementation. Results provide several strategies to improve EHR design and implementation to better support healthcare workflow.

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