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Int J Med Inform. 2004 May;73(4):363-9.

Information access at the point of care: what can we learn for designing a mobile CPR system?

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Institute of Hygiene and Applied Physiology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland.



Hospitals have started to migrate their paper-based records to computerized patient records (CPR). The majority of today's CPR systems are stationary, which means that physicians use a clinical workstation to access CPR information. But health care professionals need to request and enter information at different locations, for example, on their daily ward round. This suggests the use of mobile computers, enabling an ubiquitous access to needed data. Different studies show that health care professionals are reluctant to use poorly designed mobile CPR systems, as the work at the point of care is very time-pressured and hectic. To design a system with high acceptance, it is essential to obtain empirical insight into the work practices and context in which the mobile CPR system will be used.


We investigated the physicians' work with the patient record during their daily round. With the help of a compact notation method, the physicians' interaction with the information system was recorded in real time. Fourteen physicians from three different departments (internal medicine, surgery, and geriatrics) of a middle-sized Swiss hospital participated in our study.


Physicians have clear access preferences when they interact with the patient record during their daily round. There exists a clear profile of access frequencies and patterns, respectively. As an example, approximately 50% of all patient record accesses concern information about medications, vital signs and lab test results.


A CPR system which is designed to reflect the access frequencies and patterns should improve the efficiency of data entry and retrieval and thus result in a system with high acceptance among physicians in the demanding environment during hospital rounds.

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