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1.  An empirically-derived approach for investigating Health Information Technology: the Elementally Entangled Organisational Communication (EEOC) framework 
Background
The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the Elementally Entangled Organisational Communication (EEOC) framework by drawing on a set of three case studies which assessed the impact of new Health Information Technology (HIT) on a pathology service. The EEOC framework was empirically developed as a tool to tackle organisational communication challenges in the implementation and evaluation of health information systems.
Methods
The framework was synthesised from multiple research studies undertaken across a major metropolitan hospital pathology service during the period 2005 to 2008. These studies evaluated the impact of new HIT systems in pathology departments (Laboratory Information System) and an Emergency Department (Computerised Provider Order Entry) located in Sydney, Australia.
Results
Key dimensions of EEOC are illustrated by the following case studies: 1) the communication infrastructure between the Blood Bank and the ward for the coordination and distribution of blood products; 2) the organisational environment in the Clinical Chemistry and Haematology departments and their attempts to organise, plan and control the processing of laboratory specimens; and 3) the temporal make up of the organisation as revealed in changes to the way the Central Specimen Reception allocated, sequenced and synchronised work tasks.
Conclusions
The case studies not only highlight the pre-existing communication architecture within the organisation but also the constitutive role communication plays in the way organisations go about addressing their requirements. HIT implementation involves a mutual transformation of the organisation and the technology. This is a vital consideration because of the dangers associated with poor organisational planning and implementation of HIT, and the potential for unintended adverse consequences, workarounds and risks to the quality and safety of patient care. The EEOC framework aims to account for the complex range of contextual factors and triggers that play a role in the success or otherwise of new HITs, and in the realisation of their innovation potential.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-12-68
PMCID: PMC3407796  PMID: 22788698
2.  Validation of the Work Observation Method By Activity Timing (WOMBAT) method of conducting time-motion observations in critical care settings: an observational study 
Background
Electronic documentation handling may facilitate information flows in health care settings to support better coordination of care among Health Care Providers (HCPs), but evidence is limited. Methods that accurately depict changes to the workflows of HCPs are needed to assess whether the introduction of a Critical Care clinical Information System (CCIS) to two Intensive Care Units (ICUs) represents a positive step for patient care. To evaluate a previously described method of quantifying amounts of time spent and interruptions encountered by HCPs working in two ICUs.
Methods
Observers used PDAs running the Work Observation Method By Activity Timing (WOMBAT) software to record the tasks performed by HCPs in advance of the introduction of a Critical Care clinical Information System (CCIS) to quantify amounts of time spent on tasks and interruptions encountered by HCPs in ICUs.
Results
We report the percentages of time spent on each task category, and the rates of interruptions observed for physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, and unit clerks. Compared with previously published data from Australian hospital wards, interdisciplinary information sharing and communication in ICUs explain higher proportions of time spent on professional communication and documentation by nurses and physicians, as well as more frequent interruptions which are often followed by professional communication tasks.
Conclusions
Critical care workloads include requirements for timely information sharing and communication and explain the differences we observed between the two datasets. The data presented here further validate the WOMBAT method, and support plans to compare workflows before and after the introduction of electronic documentation methods in ICUs.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-11-32
PMCID: PMC3112380  PMID: 21586166
3.  Protocol for the Quick Clinical study: a randomised controlled trial to assess the impact of an online evidence retrieval system on decision-making in general practice 
Background
Online information retrieval systems have the potential to improve patient care but there are few comparative studies of the impact of online evidence on clinicians' decision-making behaviour in routine clinical work.
Methods/design
A randomized controlled parallel design is employed to assess the effectiveness of an online evidence retrieval system, Quick Clinical (QC) in improving clinical decision-making processes in general practice. Eligible clinicians are randomised either to receive access or not to receive access to QC in their consulting rooms for 12 months. Participants complete pre- and post trial surveys.
Two-hundred general practitioners are recruited. Participants must be registered to practice in Australia, have a computer with Internet access in their consulting room and use electronic prescribing. Clinicians planning to retire or move to another practice within 12 months or participating in any other clinical trial involving electronic extraction of prescriptions data are excluded from the study.
The primary end-points for the study is clinician acceptance and use of QC and the resulting change in decision-making behaviour. The study will examine prescribing patterns related to frequently prescribed medications where there has been a recent significant shift in recommendations regarding their use based upon new evidence. Secondary outcome measures include self-reported changes in diagnosis, patient education, prescriptions written, investigations and referrals.
Discussion
A trial under experimental conditions is an effective way of examining the impact of using QC in routine general practice consultations.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-6-33
PMCID: PMC1564384  PMID: 16928282
4.  Ambulance officers' use of online clinical evidence 
Background
Hospital-based clinicians have been shown to use and attain benefits from online evidence systems. To our knowledge there have been no studies investigating whether and how ambulance officers use online evidence systems if provided. We surveyed ambulance officers to examine their knowledge and use of the Clinical Information Access Program (CIAP), an online evidence system providing 24-hour access to information to support evidence-based practice.
Methods
A questionnaire was completed by 278 ambulance officers in New South Wales, Australia. Comparisons were made between those who used CIAP and officers who had heard of, but not used CIAP.
Results
Half the sample (48.6%) knew of, and 28.8% had used CIAP. Users were more likely to have heard of CIAP from a CIAP representative/presentation, non-users from written information. Compared to ambulance officers who had heard of but had not used CIAP, users were more likely to report better computer skills and that their supervisors regarded use of CIAP as a legitimate part of ambulance officers' clinical role. The main reasons for non-use were lack of access(49.0%) and training(31.4%). Of users, 51.3% rated their skills at finding information as good/very good, 67.5% found the information sought all/most of the time, 87.3% believed CIAP had the potential to improve patient care and 28.2% had directly experienced this. Most access to CIAP occurred at home. The databases frequently accessed were MIMS (A medicines information database) (73.8%) and MEDLINE(67.5%). The major journals accessed were Journal of Emergency Nursing(37.5%), American Journal of Medicine(30.0%) and JAMA(27.5%).
Conclusion
Over half of ambulance officers had not heard of CIAP. The proportion who knew about and used CIAP was also low. Reasons for this appear to be a work culture not convinced of CIAP's relevance to pre-hospital patient care and lack of access to CIAP at work. Ambulance officers who used CIAP accessed it primarily from home and valued it highly. Lack of access to CIAP at central work locations deprives ambulance officers of many of the benefits of an online evidence system.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-6-31
PMCID: PMC1544324  PMID: 16872507

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