Psychiatrists design their own electronic formsSeptember 20, 2010 | HealthTech Wire
A frequent barrier to the introduction of a standardised IT infrastructure in hospitals is the minefield of forms that must be created and filled in. In Marienheide, Germany, the Zentrum für Seelische Gesundheit staff show how it’s done: they use Tieto's "Layout Designer" software to streamline nursing services. The result is digital forms perfectly tailored to the centre's needs and that complement the electronic files.
The Zentrum für Seelische Gesundheit specialises in psychiatric care, housing a wide range of psychiatric departments under one roof. ‘When we decided to implement Tieto’s iMedOne® Hospital Information System to handle the centre's medical documentation, we realised that the various departments and types of staff together had 60 different forms for taking medical histories alone,’ says Heidrun Oberlies, head of nursing development. It would have been impossible to incorporate such a plethora of documentation into the new, standardised IT architecture as it was. Oberlies continues: ‘Tieto told us about the Layout Designer software, which was exactly what we were looking for to resolve our predicament.’ Layout Designer allows specific forms to be created quickly for iMedOne® system on the basis of existing forms. The solution takes entire catalogues, check boxes, and free-text fields in its stride: even complex forms can be created quickly and still look professional. Oberlies explains: ‘We sat down together and went through what was needed and for which groups. What we came up with was a standardised medical history questionnaire for all staff groups, from doctors and social workers to nurses and occupational therapists.’
No programming skills are needed
One of the reasons Oberlies liked Layout Designer so much was that no programming skills were needed for using the solution. ‘That was very important for me. You can simply cut or copy, then paste fields – as one would in a word processing program,’ he says. Oberlies was also impressed by the numerous layout options. The relatively complex anamnesis form is made visually easier for each occupational group through structural elements that are differentiated by colour. Whenever changes are made, a preview can be displayed with one click before the changes are accepted.
After the successful implementation of the standardised anamnesis form, plans were soon drawn up for further digital forms. A decubitus inventory and a digital inpatient fall protocol have already been implemented. Further requests for forms have also been made by professionals working in nutritional medicine and control, for example.
Digital forms can be accessed and read everywhere
Documents prepared with Layout Designer can be filled in on the screen as digital forms and then easily appended to the electronic file of the patient. ‘The process is the same for every form,’ says Oberlies. Right-clicking allows a new event to be selected. When the user then clicks on ‘Ok’, the form instantly becomes part of the file. ‘Unlike forms in hard copy, digital forms are highly readable,’ he stresses. And they are available at any time and anywhere: ‘Authorised users can access the data from any workstation. The time it takes to access information has been significantly reduced,’ says a satisfied Oberlies.
Statistical analysis is made easy
Unlike form content filled in by hand, the content of digital forms can be evaluated quickly and efficiently. For example, the previously unrecognised causes of falls can be better identified through digital analysis. In practice, this means that countermeasures can be introduced to address the actual causes effectively and sustainably. Without statistical analysis of the digital forms, it would be almost impossible to compile such findings. It is not just the patients who benefit from this: the financial implications for the centre are also significant, since costly complications during inpatient health care can be avoided. Additionally, other operations relevant information can be evaluated with the aid of digital forms. ‘Our quality assurance now utilises a statistical tool. We used to do everything by hand,’ explains Oberlies. The evaluation of DRG-relevant data is already being considered.