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1.  Mapping Turnaround Times (TAT) to a Generic Timeline: A Systematic Review of TAT Definitions in Clinical Domains 
Assessing turnaround times can help to analyse workflows in hospital information systems. This paper presents a systematic review of literature concerning different turnaround time definitions. Our objectives were to collect relevant literature with respect to this kind of process times in hospitals and their respective domains. We then analysed the existing definitions and summarised them in an appropriate format.
Our search strategy was based on Pubmed queries and manual reviews of the bibliographies of retrieved articles. Studies were included if precise definitions of turnaround times were available. A generic timeline was designed through a consensus process to provide an overview of these definitions.
More than 1000 articles were analysed and resulted in 122 papers. Of those, 162 turnaround time definitions in different clinical domains were identified. Starting and end points vary between these domains. To illustrate those turnaround time definitions, a generic timeline was constructed using preferred terms derived from the identified definitions. The consensus process resulted in the following 15 terms: admission, order, biopsy/examination, receipt of specimen in laboratory, procedure completion, interpretation, dictation, transcription, verification, report available, delivery, physician views report, treatment, discharge and discharge letter sent. Based on this analysis, several standard terms for turnaround time definitions are proposed.
Using turnaround times to benchmark clinical workflows is still difficult, because even within the same clinical domain many different definitions exist. Mapping of turnaround time definitions to a generic timeline is feasible.
PMCID: PMC3125312  PMID: 21609424
Turnaround time; hospital information systems; cycle time; process time; timeline
2.  CIS-based registration of quality of life in a single source approach 
Documenting quality of life (QoL) in routine medical care and using it both for treatment and for clinical research is not common, although such information is absolutely valuable for physicians and patients alike. We therefore aimed at developing an efficient method to integrate quality of life information into the clinical information system (CIS) and thus make it available for clinical care and secondary use.
We piloted our method in three different medical departments, using five different QoL questionnaires. In this setting we used structured interviews and onsite observations to perform workflow and form analyses. The forms and pertinent data reports were implemented using the integrated tools of the local CIS. A web-based application for mobile devices was developed based on XML schemata to facilitate data import into the CIS. Data exports of the CIS were analysed with statistical software to perform an analysis of data quality.
The quality of life questionnaires are now regularly documented by patients and physicians. The resulting data is available in the Electronic Health Record (EHR) and can be used for treatment purposes and communication as well as research functionalities. The completion of questionnaires by the patients themselves using a mobile device (iPad) and the import of the respective data into the CIS forms were successfully tested in a pilot installation. The quality of data is rendered high by the use of automatic score calculations as well as the automatic creation of forms for follow-up documentation. The QoL data was exported to research databases for use in scientific analysis.
The CIS-based QoL is technically feasible, clinically accepted and provides an excellent quality of data for medical treatment and clinical research. Our approach with a commercial CIS and the web-based application is transferable to other sites.
PMCID: PMC3107772  PMID: 21510866
Quality of Life; Pruritus; Single Source; Clinical Information System; Medical Documentation; Mobile Device; Web-based Application; Patient Questionnaire; Data Import
3.  HIS-based Kaplan-Meier plots - a single source approach for documenting and reusing routine survival information 
Survival or outcome information is important for clinical routine as well as for clinical research and should be collected completely, timely and precisely. This information is relevant for multiple usages including quality control, clinical trials, observational studies and epidemiological registries. However, the local hospital information system (HIS) does not support this documentation and therefore this data has to generated by paper based or spreadsheet methods which can result in redundantly documented data. Therefore we investigated, whether integrating the follow-up documentation of different departments in the HIS and reusing it for survival analysis can enable the physician to obtain survival curves in a timely manner and to avoid redundant documentation.
We analysed the current follow-up process of oncological patients in two departments (urology, haematology) with respect to different documentation forms. We developed a concept for comprehensive survival documentation based on a generic data model and implemented a follow-up form within the HIS of the University Hospital Muenster which is suitable for a secondary use of these data. We designed a query to extract the relevant data from the HIS and implemented Kaplan-Meier plots based on these data. To re-use this data sufficient data quality is needed. We measured completeness of forms with respect to all tumour cases in the clinic and completeness of documented items per form as incomplete information can bias results of the survival analysis.
Based on the form analysis we discovered differences and concordances between both departments. We identified 52 attributes from which 13 were common (e.g. procedures and diagnosis dates) and were used for the generic data model. The electronic follow-up form was integrated in the clinical workflow. Survival data was also retrospectively entered in order to perform survival and quality analyses on a comprehensive data set. Physicians are now able to generate timely Kaplan-Meier plots on current data. We analysed 1029 follow-up forms of 965 patients with survival information between 1992 and 2010. Completeness of forms was 60.2%, completeness of items ranges between 94.3% and 98.5%. Median overall survival time was 16.4 years; median event-free survival time was 7.7 years.
It is feasible to integrate survival information into routine HIS documentation such that Kaplan-Meier plots can be generated directly and in a timely manner.
PMCID: PMC3053219  PMID: 21324182

Results 1-3 (3)