ElectronicHealthcare 9(4) February 2011 : e7-e10

Rethinking Our Approach to Disease Management: Technology and Information Flow Considerations

Zun Lee and Myrna Francis


Health information technology has been moving away from its provider-centric origins and toward sharing timely and relevant information along the care continuum in a collaborative manner. Disease Management (DM) information solutions are receiving increased attention because of their role in connecting care teams and patients to produce better care and outcomes and a more efficient use of resources. To achieve these improvements, we need an effective and efficient way for sharing information among increasingly mobile patients and clinicians that enables DM and fundamentally changes how care is managed. This article proposes three principles to guide decision makers in choosing a health information approach that will result in improved workflow across the continuum of care. The first involves a truly integrated information platform, encompassing clinical as well as administrative data to provide a full picture of health system performance and operations, without complicating the day-to-day workflow of clinicians. The second involves tailoring the solution to the needs of an increasingly mobile clinician workforce. Clinicians need the "right" information at the right time in the right context; making all information for all patients available all the time is counterproductive for successful DM enablement. Similarly, alerts must be selected judiciously; too many leads to their being ignored. The third involves "smart" use of smartphones to optimize an increasingly mobile workflow. Embedding voice, SMS, chat tools and other social media capabilities into the clinical workflow can make the Smartphone a true mobile unified communications hub and significantly enhance the time value of information.



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