|Home | About | Journals | Submit | Contact Us | Français|
Integration of multiple information systems of a medical center will change the way physicians work and practice medicine in the future. Several major steps must be taken by an institution to make this a reality. Since 1983, Georgetown has been engaged in an Integrated Academic Information Management System (IAIMS) project to bring together multiple sources of information that reside on different computers and database systems. Georgetown is developing a Biotechnology and Biomedical Knowledge Network that includes informational and clinical databases, scholar workstations, instruction on computer use, a campuswide network with local area network nodes, and a modular approach to systems integration. The IAIMS project, spearheaded by the medical library, has enabled a broad spectrum of health professionals to benefit directly from new, dynamic information services. The network is heavily used; in 1991, more than 2,100 individual users conducted more than 148,500 computer functions and more than 104,000 searches. There is economy of scale in high-volume use. Overall, the average search cost is $1.57; for high use databases the cost is $0.38, and for low use, it is $9.41. As described in this paper, IAIMS offers a cost-effective means of enhancing patient care by improving information services to physicians. At Georgetown, IAIMS has advanced the concept of integration, accelerated use of computers in education, increased user acceptance of advanced technologies, and established cost factors for providing information resources. While progress made in improving the transfer of medical information is impressive, it is clear that IAIMS requires several more years of support to achieve full implementation.