Ethnographic analysis on the use of the electronic medical record for clinical handoff.

Link to article at PubMed

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Ethnographic analysis on the use of the electronic medical record for clinical handoff.

Intern Emerg Med. 2016 Nov 10;

Authors: Nelson P, Bell AJ, Nathanson L, Sanchez LD, Fisher J, Anderson PD

The objective of this study was to understand the social elements of clinical and organizational interactions of the key stakeholders in the specific context of an electronic dashboard used by the emergency department (ED) and inpatient medicine teams at the time of clinical referral and handover. An electronic handover function is utilised at the ED-inpatient interface at this institution and has given clinicians the ability to better communicate, monitor the department and strive to improve patient safety in streamline the delivery of care in the acute phase. This study uses an ethnographic qualitative research design incorporating semistructured interviews, participant observation on the ED floor and fieldwork notes. The setting for this research was in the ED at a tertiary University affiliated hospital. Triangulation was used to combine information obtained from multiple sources and information from fieldwork and interviews refined into useable chunks culminating in a thematic analysis. Thematic analysis yielded five central themes that reflected how the clinical staff utilised this IT system and why it had become embedded in the culture of clinical referral and handover. Efficient time management for improved patient flow was demonstrated, value added communication (at the interpersonal level), the building trust at the ED-inpatient interface, the maintenance of mutual respect across medical cultures and an overall enhancement of the quality of ED communication (in terms of the information available). A robust electronic handover process, resulted in an integrated approach to patient care by removing barriers to admission for medical inpatients, admitted via ED. The value proposition for patients was a more complete information transfer, both within the ED and between departments.

PMID: 27832465 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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