To identify ways for improving the consistency of design, conduct, and results reporting of time and motion (T&M) research in health informatics.
Materials and methods
We analyzed the commonalities and divergences of empirical studies published 1990–2010 that have applied the T&M approach to examine the impact of health IT implementation on clinical work processes and workflow. The analysis led to the development of a suggested ‘checklist’ intended to help future T&M research produce compatible and comparable results. We call this checklist STAMP (Suggested Time And Motion Procedures).
STAMP outlines a minimum set of 29 data/ information elements organized into eight key areas, plus three supplemental elements contained in an ‘Ancillary Data’ area, that researchers may consider collecting and reporting in their future T&M endeavors.
T&M is generally regarded as the most reliable approach for assessing the impact of health IT implementation on clinical work. However, there exist considerable inconsistencies in how previous T&M studies were conducted and/or how their results were reported, many of which do not seem necessary yet can have a significant impact on quality of research and generalisability of results. Therefore, we deem it is time to call for standards that can help improve the consistency of T&M research in health informatics. This study represents an initial attempt.
We developed a suggested checklist to improve the methodological and results reporting consistency of T&M research, so that meaningful insights can be derived from across-study synthesis and health informatics, as a field, will be able to accumulate knowledge from these studies.
Keywords: Time and motion studies (F02.784.412.846.707), workflow (L01.906.893), health information technology (L01.700), medical informatics applications (L01.700.508), collaborative technologies, personal health records and self-care systems, developing/using clinical decision support (other than diagnostic) and guideline systems, systems supporting patient-provider interaction, human-computer interaction and human-centered computing, improving healthcare workflow and process efficiency, system implementation and management issues, social/organizational study, qualitative/ethnographic field study, cognitive study (including experiments emphasizing verbal protocol analysis and usability), methods for integration of information from disparate sources, information storage and retrieval (text and images), data exchange, communication, integration across care settings (inter- and intra-enterprise), visualization of data and knowledge, developing/using computerized provider order entry