JMIR Hum Factors. 2023 Jan 23;10:e39051. doi: 10.2196/39051.
BACKGROUND: Hospitalized patients with complex care needs require an interprofessional team of health professionals working together to support their care in hospitals and during discharge planning. However, interprofessional communication and collaboration in inpatient settings are often fragmented and inefficient, leading to poor patient outcomes and provider frustration. Health information technology can potentially help improve team communication and collaboration; however, to date, evidence of its effectiveness is lacking. There are also concerns that current implementations might further fragment communication and increase the clinician burden without proven benefits.
OBJECTIVE: In this study, we aimed to generate transferrable lessons for future designers of health information technology tools that facilitate team communication and collaboration.
METHODS: A secondary analysis of the qualitative component of the mixed methods evaluation was performed. The electronic communication and collaboration platform was implemented in 2 general internal medicine wards in a large community teaching hospital in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Fifteen inpatient clinicians in those wards, including nurses, physicians, and allied health care providers, were recruited to participate in semistructured interviews about their experience with a co-designed electronic communication and collaboration tool. Data were analyzed using the Technology Acceptance Model, and themes related to the constructs of perceived ease of use (PEOU) and perceived usefulness (PU) were identified.
RESULTS: A secondary analysis guided by the Technology Acceptance Model highlighted important points. Intuitive design precluded training as a barrier to use, but lack of training may hinder participants' PEOU if features designed for efficiency are not discovered by users. Organized information was found to be useful for creating a comprehensive clinical picture of each patient and facilitating improved handovers. However, information needs to be both comprehensive and succinct, and information overload may negatively impact PEOU. The mixed paper and electronic practice environment also negatively impacted PEOU owing to unavoidable double documentation and the need for printing. Participants perceived the tool to be useful as it improved efficiency in information retrieval and documentation, improved the handover process, afforded another mode of communication when face-to-face communication was impractical, and improved shared awareness. The PU of this tool depends on its optimal use by all team members.
CONCLUSIONS: Electronic tools can support communication and collaboration among interprofessional teams caring for patients with complex needs. There are transferable lessons learned that can improve the PU and PEOU of future systems.