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CERC Technical Report Series

Research Note




H. C. Galfalvy, 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.

Concurrent Engineering Research Center

West Virginia University

P. O. Box 6506, Morgantown WV 26506


Concurrent Engineering Research Center (CERC), under the sponsorship of NLM (National Library of Medicine) is in the process of developing a computerized patient record system for a clinical environment distributed in rural West Virginia. This realization of the CCN (Community Care Network), besides providing computer-based patient records accessible from a chain of clinics and one hospital, supports collaborative health care processes like referral and consulting. To evaluate the effectiveness of the system, a complex study was designed and partially executed. Three surveys were designed to provide subjective measures, and four experiments for collecting objective data. Data collection is taking place in several phases: baseline data are collected before the system is deployed; the process is repeated with minimal changes three, then six months later or as often as new versions of the system are installed. Results are then to be compared, using whenever possible matching techniques (i.e. the preliminary data collected on a provider will be matched with the data collected later on the same provider). Surveys are conducted through questionnaires distributed to providers and nurses and person-to-person interviews of the patients. The time spent on patient-chart related activities is measured by work-sampling, aided by a computer application running on a laptop PC. Information about missing patient record parts is collected by the providers, the frequency by which new features of the computerized system are used will be logged by the system itself and clinical outcome measures will be studied from the results of the clinics? own patient chart audits. Preliminary results of the surveys and plans for the immediate and distant future are discussed at the end of the paper.