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CERC Technical Report Series

Research Note



V. Jagannathan, et al.

April 1995

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: This effort was sponsored by the National Library of Medicine under

Contract No. N01-LM-3-3535, Collaboration Technology for the Real-time Treatment of Patients

and the Advanced Research Projects Agency under Grant No. MDA972-J-1022, DARPA Initiative

in Concurrent Engineering.

Concurrent Engineering Research Center

West Virginia University

P. O. Box 6506, Morgantown WV 26506

The basic premise of this effort is that health care can be made more effective and affordable by applying modern computer technology to improve collaboration among diverse and distributed health care providers.

Information sharing, communication, and coordination are basic elements of any collaborative endeavor. In the health care domain, collaboration is characterized by cooperative activities by health care providers to deliver total and real-time care for their patients. Communication between providers and managed access to distributed patient records should enable health care providers to make informed decisions about their patients in a timely manner. With an effective medical information infrastructure in place, a patient will be able to visit any health care provider with access to the network, and the provider will be able to use relevant information from even the last episode of care in the patient record. Such a patient-centered perspective is in keeping with the real mission of health care providers.

Today, an easy-to-use, integrated health care network is not in place in any community, even though current technology makes such a network possible. Large health care systems have deployed partial and disparate systems that address different elements of collaboration. But these islands of automation have not been integrated to facilitate cooperation among health care providers in large communities or nationally.