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Int J Clin Monit Comput. 1992;9(1):53-61.

INFORM: European survey of computers in intensive care units.

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Sogess Srl, Milan, Italy.


The aims of this study were (a) to survey and evaluate the impact of information technology applications in High Dependency Environments (HDEs) on organizational, psychological and cost-effectiveness factors, (b) to contribute information and design requirements to the other workpackages in the INFORM Project, and (c) to develop useful evaluation methodologies. The evaluation methodologies used were: questionnaires, case studies, objective findings (keystroke) and literature search and review. Six questionnaires were devised covering organizational impact, cost-benefit impact and perceived advantages and disadvantages of computerized systems in HDE (psychological impact). The general conclusion was that while existing systems have been generally well received, they are not yet designed in such a developed and integrated way as to yield their full potential. Greater user involvement in design and implementation and more emphasis on training emerged as strong requirements. Lack of reliability leading to parallel charting was a major problem with the existing systems. It proved difficult to assess cost effectiveness due to a lack of detailed accounting costs; however, it appeared that in the short term, computerisation in HDEs tended to increase costs. It is felt that through a better stock control and better decision making, costs may be reduced in the longer run and effectiveness increased; more detailed longitudinal studies appear to be needed on this subject.

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