Complexity of patient records poses huge challenge for data integration programme

Kavanagh, John
July 2005
Computer Weekly;7/5/2005, p36
Trade Publication
The article reports that slow progress in computerising patient records has been highlighted by a British Computer Society debate, which found that IT specialists often underestimate the complexity of the task. The challenge is that patient records are far removed from bank statements or business records, said the report on the debate, which brought together 45 health and health IT specialists under a rule of anonymity. Patient records combine data, opinion and observations from a wide range of medical professionals and for a wide range of purposes, the report said. Information that is hugely important in one context, such as blood pressure readings taken after heart surgery, may be of little significance to a physician during an appointment weeks later, whereas a single routine reading can be highly significant years later in the event of unexplained heart failure. Such interpretations and opinions cannot be recorded in a structured form, the report said, and this creates huge complexity, which is rarely appreciated.


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