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AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2010 Nov 13;2010:311-5.

Analysis of user behavior in accessing electronic medical record systems in emergency departments.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA.


Electronic patient tracking and records systems in emergency departments often connect to hospital information systems, ambulatory patient records and ancillary systems. The networked systems may not be fully interoperable and clinicians need to access data through different interfaces. This study was conducted to describe the interactive behavior of clinicians working with partially interoperable clinical information systems. We performed 78 hours of observation at two emergency departments, shadowing five physicians, ten nurses and four administrative staff. Actions related to viewing or recording data in any system or on paper were recorded. Collected data were compared along clinical roles and contrasted with findings across the two hospital sites. The findings suggest that differences in the levels of interoperability may affect the ways physicians and nurses interact with the systems. When tradeoffs in functionality are necessary for connecting ancillary systems, the effects on clinicians and staff need to be considered.

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