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1.  Comparison of alphabetical versus categorical display format for medication order entry in a simulated touch screen anesthesia information management system: an experiment in clinician-computer interaction in anesthesia 
Background
Anesthesia information management system (AIMS) records should be designed and configured to facilitate the accurate and prompt recording of multiple drugs administered coincidentally or in rapid succession.
Methods
We proposed two touch-screen display formats for use with our department’s new EPIC touch-screen AIMS. In one format, medication “buttons” were arranged in alphabetical order (i.e. A-C, D-H etc.). In the other, buttons were arranged in categories (Common, Fluids, Cardiovascular, Coagulation etc.). Both formats were modeled on an iPad screen to resemble the AIMS interface. Anesthesia residents, anesthesiologists, and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (n = 60) were then asked to find and touch the correct buttons for a series of medications whose names were displayed to the side of the entry screen. The number of entries made within 2 minutes was recorded. This was done 3 times for each format, with the 1st format chosen randomly. Data were analyzed from the third trials with each format to minimize differences in learning.
Results
The categorical format had a mean of 5.6 more drugs entered using the categorical method in two minutes than the alphabetical format (95% confidence interval [CI] 4.5 to 6.8, P < 0.0001). The findings were the same regardless of the order of testing (i.e. alphabetical-categorical vs. categorical - alphabetical) and participants’ years of clinical experience. Most anesthesia providers made no (0) errors for most trials (N = 96/120 trials, lower 95% limit 73%, P < 0.0001). There was no difference in error rates between the two formats (P = 0.53).
Conclusions
The use of touch-screen user interfaces in healthcare is increasingly common. Arrangement of drugs names in a categorical display format in the medication order-entry touch screen of an AIMS can result in faster data entry compared to an alphabetical arrangement of drugs. Results of this quality improvement project were used in our department’s design of our final intraoperative electronic anesthesia record. This testing approach using cognitive and usability engineering methods can be used to objectively design and evaluate many aspects of the clinician-computer interaction in electronic health records.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-12-46
PMCID: PMC3461477  PMID: 22643058
2.  Event-based knowledge elicitation of operating room management decision-making using scenarios adapted from information systems data 
Background
No systematic process has previously been described for a needs assessment that identifies the operating room (OR) management decisions made by the anesthesiologists and nurse managers at a facility that do not maximize the efficiency of use of OR time. We evaluated whether event-based knowledge elicitation can be used practically for rapid assessment of OR management decision-making at facilities, whether scenarios can be adapted automatically from information systems data, and the usefulness of the approach.
Methods
A process of event-based knowledge elicitation was developed to assess OR management decision-making that may reduce the efficiency of use of OR time. Hypothetical scenarios addressing every OR management decision influencing OR efficiency were created from published examples. Scenarios are adapted, so that cues about conditions are accurate and appropriate for each facility (e.g., if OR 1 is used as an example in a scenario, the listed procedure is a type of procedure performed at the facility in OR 1). Adaptation is performed automatically using the facility's OR information system or anesthesia information management system (AIMS) data for most scenarios (43 of 45). Performing the needs assessment takes approximately 1 hour of local managers' time while they decide if their decisions are consistent with the described scenarios. A table of contents of the indexed scenarios is created automatically, providing a simple version of problem solving using case-based reasoning. For example, a new OR manager wanting to know the best way to decide whether to move a case can look in the chapter on "Moving Cases on the Day of Surgery" to find a scenario that describes the situation being encountered.
Results
Scenarios have been adapted and used at 22 hospitals. Few changes in decisions were needed to increase the efficiency of use of OR time. The few changes were heterogeneous among hospitals, showing the usefulness of individualized assessments.
Conclusions
Our technical advance is the development and use of automated event-based knowledge elicitation to identify suboptimal OR management decisions that decrease the efficiency of use of OR time. The adapted scenarios can be used in future decision-making.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-11-2
PMCID: PMC3031196  PMID: 21214905
3.  A Markov computer simulation model of the economics of neuromuscular blockade in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome 
Background
Management of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in the intensive care unit (ICU) is clinically challenging and costly. Neuromuscular blocking agents may facilitate mechanical ventilation and improve oxygenation, but may result in prolonged recovery of neuromuscular function and acute quadriplegic myopathy syndrome (AQMS). The goal of this study was to address a hypothetical question via computer modeling: Would a reduction in intubation time of 6 hours and/or a reduction in the incidence of AQMS from 25% to 21%, provide enough benefit to justify a drug with an additional expenditure of $267 (the difference in acquisition cost between a generic and brand name neuromuscular blocker)?
Methods
The base case was a 55 year-old man in the ICU with ARDS who receives neuromuscular blockade for 3.5 days. A Markov model was designed with hypothetical patients in 1 of 6 mutually exclusive health states: ICU-intubated, ICU-extubated, hospital ward, long-term care, home, or death, over a period of 6 months. The net monetary benefit was computed.
Results
Our computer simulation modeling predicted the mean cost for ARDS patients receiving standard care for 6 months to be $62,238 (5% – 95% percentiles $42,259 – $83,766), with an overall 6-month mortality of 39%. Assuming a ceiling ratio of $35,000, even if a drug (that cost $267 more) hypothetically reduced AQMS from 25% to 21% and decreased intubation time by 6 hours, the net monetary benefit would only equal $137.
Conclusion
ARDS patients receiving a neuromuscular blocker have a high mortality, and unpredictable outcome, which results in large variability in costs per case. If a patient dies, there is no benefit to any drug that reduces ventilation time or AQMS incidence. A prospective, randomized pharmacoeconomic study of neuromuscular blockers in the ICU to asses AQMS or intubation times is impractical because of the highly variable clinical course of patients with ARDS.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-6-15
PMCID: PMC1431518  PMID: 16539706

Results 1-3 (3)