Ebook: Integrating and Connecting Care
The last few decades have seen the digital transformation of healthcare, with health informaticians taking the lead in innovations which have enabled the sector to evolve from rudimentary computer based records to large-scale systems allowing for intra-organisational, national and even international communication and information exchange. Establishing and maintaining strong partnerships between the healthcare community, government, universities and industry is integral to supporting these advances.
This book presents 24 selected papers from the 25th Australian National Health Informatics Conference (HIC 2017), held in Brisbane, Australia, in August 2017. The theme of HIC 2017 is Integrating and Connecting Care, and the conference provides the ideal professional and social environment for clinicians, researchers, health IT professionals, industry and consumers to integrate, educate and share their knowledge and debate current and future health systems. The papers in the book reflect the theme of the conference, highlighting the cutting-edge research evidence, technology updates and innovations crucial to the digital transformation of the healthcare sector.
Health informatics and e-health play a central role in connecting information systems, being smart with data, and enhancing both practitioner and consumer experience in healthcare interactions, and the book will be of interest to researchers and practitioners alike.
Over the last few decades, health informaticians have been leading the innovation conversation to support the digital transformation of healthcare. This transformation has seen the sector evolve from rudimentary computer based records to large-scale systems that allow intra-organisational, national, even international communication and information exchange. We have also seen a boom in consumer apps, enhancing the practitioner and consumer experience in healthcare interactions. Establishing and maintaining strong partnerships between the healthcare community, government, universities and industry is integral to the digital ideas boom. The Australian National Health Informatics Conference (HIC), Australia's premier health informatics event, is a key avenue for developing, promoting and maintaining these partnerships. The Conference, organised by the Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA), with the support of the Australasian College of Health Informatics (ACHI), provides the ideal professional and social environment for clinicians, researchers, health IT professionals, industry and consumers to integrate, educate and share their knowledge to drive innovative thinking, to enhance services and allow greater consumer involvement. This is emphasised in the primary theme of the 2017 Conference: Integrating and Connecting Care.
The papers in this volume reflect this theme, highlighting the cutting-edge research evidence, technology updates and innovations that are seeing the digital transformation of the healthcare sector. The papers are indicative of the wide spectrum of work encompassing major theoretical concepts, examples of key applications of new technologies and important new developments in the field of health informatics. They emphasise the central role that health informatics and e-health play in connecting information systems, being smart with data, and enhancing both practitioner and consumer experience in healthcare interactions. Welcome to the innovation boom.
This year's program maintains the high standard of papers for which the conference is well-known. All papers were blind-peer reviewed by three experts in the field of health informatics. These reviewers are widely considered to be prominent academics, digital health and industry specialists. The contribution of the Australasian College of Health Informatics, particularly the voluntary participation of Fellows, in supporting this review process is gratefully acknowledged. Similar contributions made by many senior and experienced members of the Health Informatics Society of Australia are also acknowledged. Forty papers underwent the initial review and feedback process. Resubmitted papers were then validated by the Scientific Program Committee to ensure that reviewers' recommendations were appropriately addressed or rebutted. In total 24 papers were selected for inclusion in this volume. Congratulations to all the authors on their contribution to the digital health ideas boom.
Louise K. Schaper
Healthcare is currently being transformed by the introduction of genomic sequencing – a major advancement in personalised medicine. This advent provides new opportunities for clinicians to use genomic data in decision making about patient diagnosis and treatment, but this can only be achieved through access to data and support in its use. Engaging with clinicians in the development of decision support tools will optimise relevance and adoption of genomic sequencing in healthcare. In this study, existing data from clinician workshops and interviews together with horizon scanning of relevant technologies were used to define clinician portal specifications. We describe a preliminary structure of a decision support tool for use by clinicians and the manner in which the technology may be evaluated.
Background. There is a need to develop a national census of the health information workforce to inform the planning and forecasting of the workforce and inform education and training needs. Yet, this raises a number of issues that need to be incorporated into the planning stage. This paper discusses the issues and recommendations for the development of a national health information workforce census and an Expert Panel's recommendations for how we should proceed.
Methods. Nominated participants from Australia and New Zealand participated as Expert Panel members in focus groups to identify and discuss the issues. Recommendations were identified during the focus groups and documented for participant verification. These were then grouped into themes.
Results and Discussion. The themes of the issues and considerations identified in the focus groups were: Aim of the census; Census advertisement; Census delivery; Participants; Longitudinal study; Types of data elements; Data development and standards; Data ownership, access and governance; Global census; Dissemination of results.
The use of health information technology (IT) is increasing around the world. However, as complex IT systems are implemented, new types of errors are introduced. These can disrupt workflow and care delivery, and even lead to patient harm. The purpose of this paper is to examine the patterns and causes of IT system downtime in a hospital setting. We examined all the downtime events that were recorded by a hospital IT department from February 2010 to October 2012. On average downtime disrupted care delivery for 49 hours per year with 51% of total downtime between 9 am and 5 pm. These results show that there is a need for safer design and implementation of IT systems. Further studies are required to measure the effects of downtime on care delivery and patient outcomes in digital hospitals.
Background. Mother-child interactions often give rise to opportunities for early language learning in the context of everyday life. Persuasive technology has the potential to influence maternal language behaviours in the home and promote mothers' active engagement in the development of their children's communication skills.
Aim. This paper explored maternal perceptions regarding the use of a language tracking wearable (Language Environment Analysis; LENA) device and a parent education smartphone application in an 8-week trial with their young children.
Methods. Mother/child dyads were enrolled in a feasibility trial designed to obtain objective auditory and linguistic data from each child's naturalistic settings (Control Condition), provide feedback to mothers about their child's home language environment (LENA Feedback Condition), and to explore effectiveness of an app designed to promote meaningful parent/child interactions during daily routines (LENA Feedback and App Condition).
Results and Discussion. The majority of mothers (80%) who participated in the trial reported a preference for using the mobile app and/or LENA technology again. Maternal responses during this pilot informed the design of an ongoing, prospective language intervention study for parents and their young children with significant hearing loss.
New South Wales (NSW) Health Pathology is implementing one of the world's largest managed PoCT services across rural and remote Emergency Departments (EDs) in New South Wales, Australia to improve patient access to care. The aim of this qualitative study was to gain a context-rich understanding of the operational impact of the NSW rollout of PoCT across rural and remote ED settings as experienced by frontline clinical staff. Clinical professionals (n=14) participated in interviews and focus groups in August 2015 at four rural and remote NSW EDs. Participants perceived that PoCT provided greater access to pathology thus facilitating more efficient and effective patient care via faster test turnaround and time to treatment and more effective decisions about the need to transfer patients to appropriate sites when required. These factors have a potentially important role in saving lives. Staff also identified innovative and disruptive challenges to clinical work patterns associated with PoCT implementation, particularly in relation to work flows, resource allocation and the governance arrangements.
Non-adherence to medication and treatment regimens is considered as a major issue in the healthcare industry as it can lead to negative consequences. Various strategies have been applied to improve adherence, however many of these strategies lack the interaction and personalisation-aspect which has been shown to be crucial to the patients. This paper discusses the importance of personalised interaction in improving patients' medication adherence, and the characteristics needed in an avatar to simulate such human-human interactions.
The roll-out of a hospital-wide electronic medication management system (eMMS) is a challenging task, requiring planning, coordination, communication and change management. This research aimed to explore the views of doctors and nurses about the strategy used to implement an eMM system in a paediatric hospital. Semi-structured interviews were performed during the first week of the implementation on each ward, and were then followed up three and six weeks post implementation. In total, 90 users (60 nurses and 30 doctors) were asked about their impressions of the implementation, as well as their perceptions of training and IT support. Qualitative thematic analysis was performed by three researchers. Most users perceived the implementation of the eMM to be positive overall. Although perceptions of the implementation process remained largely consistent across the six weeks, users identified several areas where improvements were needed, especially early in implementation, including resources, planning, roll-out strategy and training. These findings are useful for future implementations of eMM systems in paediatric hospitals.
To facilitate the clinical guideline (GL) development process, different groups of researchers have proposed tools that enable computer-supported tools for authoring and publishing GLs. In a previous study we interviewed GL authors in different Norwegian institutions and identified tool shortcomings. In this follow-up study our goal is to explore to what extent GL authoring tools have been evaluated by researchers, guideline organisations, or GL authors. This article presents results from a systematic literature review of evaluation (including usability) of GL authoring tools. A controlled database search and backward snow-balling were used to identify relevant articles. From the 12692 abstracts found, 188 papers were fully reviewed and 26 papers were identified as relevant. The GRADEPro tool has attracted some evaluation, however popular tools and platforms such as DECIDE, Doctor Evidence, JBI-SUMARI, G-I-N library have not been subject to specific evaluation from an authoring perspective. Therefore, we found that little attention was paid to the evaluation of the tools in general. We could not find any evaluation relevant to how tools integrate and support the complex GL development workflow. The results of this paper are highly relevant to GL authors, tool developers and GL publishing organisations in order to improve and control the GL development and maintenance process.
The increasing demand for healthcare and the static resources available necessitate data driven improvements in healthcare at large scale. The SnoMAP tool was rapidly developed to provide an automated solution that transforms and maps clinician-entered data to provide data which is fit for both administrative and clinical purposes. Accuracy of data mapping was maintained.
Excessive presentation of alerts in electronic prescribing systems (ePS) results in ‘alert fatigue’ which reduces alert effectiveness and frustrates users. Previous research at our study site showed high rates of duplication alerts, some of which were the result of doctors not using available short-cut functions in the ePS. This study aimed to improve uptake of short-cut functions and so reduce alert fatigue by trialing two interventions: feedback and training. Fifty doctors were randomised to one of three groups: Control, Feedback or Training. The Feedback group received an individualised feedback report via email and the Training group received brief face-to-face refresher training. Participants partook in informal interviews to discuss the training and the ePS in use. The proportion of orders which triggered a duplication alert was our primary outcome measure. Neither intervention had a significant impact on duplication alert rate (Feedback: 80.8% vs. 77.8% of orders, Training: 77.5% vs. 76.5% of orders; all p>0.05). We identified a number of factors related to the intervention, ePS and prescribing environment that contributed to this result. Rather than focusing on changing prescribing behaviour, we suggest a more effective and appropriate approach is to redesign the ePS so that fewer and more meaningful alerts are presented.
Electronic medical record-based test results management interventions hold the potential to reduce errors in the test result follow-up process. However, ensuring the adaptability of such systems to the clinical environment has proven challenging. The aim of this study was to explore how contextual factors can influence senior emergency physicians' experience and perceived impacts of an electronic result acknowledgement system across two Emergency Departments. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews relating to physician test result acknowledgement processes before and after system implementation were conducted with 14 senior Emergency Physicians across two Australian metropolitan teaching hospitals. Perceived impacts of the electronic test result acknowledgement system on test result endorsement varied in terms of: changes to workflow, impacts on patient safety; and changes to documentation practices. Existing work practices and the departmental staffing mix and roles play a part in determining the nature of change that an electronic result acknowledgement system is likely to produce.
Online social networks (OSNs) enable health professionals to learn informally, for example by sharing medical knowledge, or discussing practice management challenges and clinical issues. Understanding how learning occurs in OSNs is necessary to better support this type of learning. Through a cross-sectional survey, this study found that learning interaction in OSNs is low in general, with a small number of active users. Some health professionals actively used OSNs to support their practice, including sharing practical and experiential knowledge, benchmarking themselves, and to keep up-to-date on policy, advanced information and news in the field. These health professionals had an overall positive learning experience in OSNs.
Record linkage is a technique for integrating data from sources or providers where direct access to the data is not possible due to security and privacy considerations. This is a very common scenario for medical data, as patient privacy is a significant concern. To avoid privacy leakage, researchers have adopted k-anonymity to protect raw data from re-identification however they cannot avoid associated information loss, e.g. due to generalisation. Given that individual-level data is often not disclosed in the linkage cases, but yet remains potentially re-discoverable, we propose semantic-based linkage k-anonymity to de-identify record linkage with fewer generalisations and eliminate inference disclosure through semantic reasoning.
Background. Well documented demand for an e-health ready workforce is placing increasing pressure on universities to deliver essential e-health education.
Aim. We aimed to explore stakeholders' perceptions of e-health knowledge and skills anticipated of workforce-ready tertiary graduates from clinical health degree programs.
Method. A qualitative research study of a purposively selected sample of 23 key informants with expertise and/or experience in e-health education, practice and/or policy was conducted. Data collection involved focus group interviews that were recorded, transcribed verbatim and underwent thematic analysis.
Findings. Three primary themes about e-health education and preparation of health graduates emerged from the analyses: 1) Reinforce fundamental competencies, 2) Acknowledge and adapt existing competencies, and 3) Introduce and provide opportunities for new learning.
Conclusions and Implications. This study will inform the articulation of a consensus driven set of core competencies for a cross-faculty e-health curriculum that aligns with workforce expectations. There is also potential for vertical integration of findings into workforce development programs.
As sources of medical information grow online, Virtual Communities of Practice (VCoPs) have evolved into a potential tool that allows General Practitioners (GPs) to interact through the sharing of their experience and knowledge. However, literature reports that GPs are reluctant to participate in VCoPs especially for their continuing medical education (CME). Currently, no study has explored the design and structural aspects of VCoPs that may lead to enhancing GPs' participation in such online communities. Hence, this paper explores how GPs envisage the use of a VCoP for their CME and how to enhance their participation by conducting an exploratory qualitative study of two focus groups with 10 GPs in each group, accompanied by a specialist and a nurse. Our empirical findings identified two key contributions: i) seven themes that need to be incorporated in the VCoP to enable and support GP's CME through the use of a VCoP; ii) three recommendations to take into consideration for researchers when evaluating VCoPs for CME.
Consumers are frequently involved in different kinds of health research, such as clinical trials, focus groups, and surveys. As pointed out by different studies, recruiting and involving consumers to participate in academic research can be challenging. While different research and guidelines are provided to instruct researchers to recruit participants ethically, they seldom consider the needs and expectations of consumers. In this research, we interviewed 23 consumers with musculoskeletal conditions in Australia, to understand their needs and motivations for participating in research from a user-centred perspective. Based on these data, we systematically summarise consumers' feedback into four main themes: (1) Research as Learning Opportunity; (2) The Important Role of Communities and Health Professionals; (3) Research Transparency and Updates; and (4) Special Needs for People with MSK Conditions. As a result, a few recommendations are proposed and researchers should further consider these when designing consumer-based studies. Ultimately, with a better understanding of consumers, we hope that our research can enhance consumer engagement and improve their participation in health research.
An aging population and the expectation of premium quality health services combined with the increasing economic burden of the healthcare system requires a paradigm shift toward patient oriented healthcare. The guardian angel theory described by Szolovits  explores the notion of enlisting patients as primary providers of information and motivation to patients with similar clinical history through social connections. In this study, an agent based model was developed to simulate to explore how individuals are affected through their levels of intrinsic positivity. Ring, point-to-point (paired buddy), and random networks were modelled, with individuals able to send messages to each other given their levels of variables positivity and motivation. Of the 3 modelled networks it is apparent that the ring network provides the most equal, collective improvement in positivity and motivation for all users. Further study into other network topologies should be undertaken in the future.
The use of information technology in the delivery of healthcare services is pervasive but faces many barriers. We propose a four-factor comprehensive conceptual model to provide a measure of interdisciplinary healthcare readiness to provide healthcare services using e-health. We incorporate factors from a series of focus group studies and the wider literature and construct a conceptual model. We utilise the Delphi method to establish content validity and use a series of Q sorts for initial construct validity. This model will improve patient outcomes through healthcare teams identifying barriers to using e-health effectively and efficiently.
This paper illustrates a proof of concept scenario for the application of comprehensive data visualisation methods in the rapidly changing aged care sector. The scenario we explored is population ageing and the dementias with an emphasis on the spatial effects of change over time at the Statistical Area 2 (SA2) level for the state of New South Wales. We did this using a combination of methods, culminating in the use of the Tableau software environment to explore the intersections of demography, epidemiology and their formal cost of care implications. In addition, we briefly illustrate how key infrastructure data can be included in the same data management context by showing how service providers can be integrated and mapped in conjunction with other analyses. This is an innovative and practical approach to some of the complex issues already faced in the health and aged care sectors which can only become more pronounced as population ageing progresses.
Accurate surgery duration estimation is essential for efficient use of hospital operating theatres and the scheduling of elective patients. This study focuses on analysing the performance of previously developed surgery duration prediction algorithms at a specialty level to gain further insight on their performance. We also evaluate algorithm performance after applying filtering to exclude unreliable data from modelling, and develop and validate new ensemble approaches for prediction. These are shown to significantly improve the prediction accuracy of the algorithms. Employing filtered data delivers a reduction in overall prediction error of 44% (Mean Absolute Percentage Error from 0.68 to 0.38) employing the Random Forests algorithm, while using the newly developed ensemble approach delivers a Mean Absolute Percentage Error of 0.31, a reduction of 55% when compared to the original error, and a reduction of 18% when compared to the Random Forests performance on filtered data.
The linkage of data across facilities and settings of care provides a holistic view of the patient journey through the healthcare system. This study, through data linkage, reviews alternative approaches to the measurement of unplanned returns to care in NSW public hospital emergency departments and admitted patient care settings. The study shows that existing measures of unplanned returns do not identify the true extent of these events and highlight the need to develop new approaches to measurement using the increasing availability of integrated patient information.
The vision for Australia's national electronic health record system included empowering consumers to become active participants in their own health care. This paper aims to critically review the literature on consumer perspectives of Australia's My Health Record (formerly PCEHR). The review is based on a subset of articles (n=12) identified in the Australian EHR Repository (N=143), a repository of metadata of Australian Research on EHR located at Flinders University. Results show low levels of awareness and concerns about sharing records and equity of access for all Australians, which in view of the change from opt in to opt out raises concerns about explicit consent. Improved promotion and support, along with different models of access might lead to higher consumer engagement with, and use, of My Health Record, especially for populations at risk of digital exclusion.
Quantifying the health workforce in terms of overall staff numbers and their ratio to patients under their care can strengthen analytical studies designed to inform policy regarding how hospital services are delivered. Information about staffing is traditionally obtained via location-specific audits or self-reported information gleaned from surveys which hold potential biases around time-dependence and recall. In contrast, work presented in this paper describes the derivation of useful workforce metrics from routine hospital financial and clinical information systems that overcome these biases. Staffing data is aggregated, visualised and linked to patient demand to gain insight into spatial and temporal variations in hospital staffing and workload. Overall, hospital staff resourcing varies noticeably across a week, with staff numbers and staff-to-patient ratios dropping to low levels at night and across a weekend. Exploration of staff-to-staff ratios allows further insight into staff dynamics across a week and the variation of supervision level.
The complex relations between Health Technologies and clinical practices have been the focus of intensive research in recent years. This research represents a shift towards a holistic view where evaluation of health technologies is linked to organisational practices. In this paper, we address the gaps in existing literature regarding the holistic evaluation of e-health in clinical practice. We report the results from a qualitative study conducted to gain insight into e-health in practice within an interdisciplinary healthcare domain. Findings from this qualitative study, provides the foundation for the creation of a generic measurement model that allows for the comparative analysis of health technologies and assist in the decision-making of its stakeholders.