Does an integrated emergency department information system change the sequence of clinical work? A mixed-method cross-site study

Joanne Callen*, Ling Li, Andrew Georgiou, Richard Paoloni, Kathryn Gibson, Julie Li, Michael Stewart, Jeffrey Braithwaite, Johanna I. Westbrook

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: (1) to describe Emergency Department (ED) physicians' and nurses' perceptions about the sequence of work related to patient management with use of an integrated Emergency Department Information System (EDIS), and (2) to measure changes in the sequence of clinician access to patient information. Methods: A mixed method study was conducted in four metropolitan EDs. Each used the same EDIS which is a module of the hospitals' enterprise-wide clinical information system composed of many components of an electronic medical record. This enabled access to clinical and management information relating to patients attending all hospitals in the region. Phase one - data were collected from ED physicians and nurses (n = 97) by 69 in-depth interviews, five focus groups (28 participants), and 26. h of observations. Phase two - physicians (n = 34) in one ED were observed over 2 weeks. Data included whether and what type of information was accessed from the EDIS prior to first examination of the patient. Results: Clinicians reported, and phase 2 observations confirmed, that the integrated EDIS led to changes to the order of information access, which held implications for when tests were ordered and results accessed. Most physicians accessed patient information using EDIS prior to taking the patients' first medical history (77/116; 66.4%, 95% CI: 57.8-75.0%). Previous discharge summaries (74%) and past test results (61%) were most frequently accessed and junior doctors were more likely to access electronic past history information than their senior colleagues (χ2=20.717, d.f.=1, p<0.001). Conclusions: The integrated EDIS created new ways of working for ED clinicians. Such changes could hold positive implications for: time taken to reach a diagnosis and deliver treatments; length of stay; patient outcomes and experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)958-966
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Informatics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes

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