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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Stephanie Kitt, MSN (Northwestern Memorial Hospital)
Description: This book on evaluating the organizational impact of healthcare information systems is a second edition from a Health Informatics series originally launched in 1988 as Computers in Healthcare. The book provides a clear guide for evaluating the impact of computerized information systems on organizations, healthcare professionals' quality of work life, and cost of healthcare delivery. It is a practical guide to analysis reinforced by reported research studies.
Purpose: Designed as a practical guide for determining appropriate questions to effectively analyze healthcare information systems, it defines the most effective methods available to answer those questions. Considering the current need for dramatic improvements in healthcare delivery, and the promise of clinical information systems to leverage information to improve care, there is a growing need for literature such as this to study and evaluate the use and impact of information technology in healthcare.
Audience: According to the authors, the book is written for computer system developers, administrators, healthcare policy analysts, chief information officers, investigators, and others involved in evaluating the impacts of computerized information systems on the structure and functioning of healthcare organizations, the quality of work life for professionals and others working in healthcare, and the cost effective delivery of healthcare. I would also add clinical informatics and quality professionals to the list because, in many institutions, they are charged with system design, development, and optimization. The authors are credible, well known, and able to convey information in a very clear, easy to read format.
Features: The book includes an overview of theories on the impact of information systems on organizations and people in those organizations. It also applies the theories to guide research and evaluation. Because healthcare occurs in complex organizations, sound evaluation is crucial for examining outcomes of system design and use. Major methods used to evaluate clinical information systems are discussed as well as various approaches to evaluating collaborative environments, assessing the social impact of computers in healthcare, surveying individuals, and using the technology to facilitate analysis. Case studies are up to date and illustrate how to evaluate real-world clinical issues associated with information systems.
Assessment: I am very favorably impressed with this book. It lives up to its goal of being a practical guide to help readers in the analysis of clinical information systems. With lots of work occurring at the moment on designing and installing healthcare information systems, this book provides a ready reference to determine if you're doing it the right way and to avoid the pitfalls that others have experienced. It also is useful for those of us with systems implemented and journeying onto optimization of those systems in order to significantly improve care — the ultimate goal!