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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Robert Hogan, MD (Kaiser Permanente)
Description: This book is a significant effort to outline fundamental methods in the evaluation of existing or proposed computer systems in healthcare.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a practical reference from which academic informatics experts and others involved in the serious analysis of computer systems in healthcare may derive insights pertaining to study design, implementation, and publication.
Audience: The analysis of information systems, extant and proposed, is of interest to informatics theorists, hospital information system designers, chief information officers (CIOs) in the managed car industry, and, ultimately, to governmental agencies such as HCFA.
Features: This 310-page book is divided into 11 sparsely illustrated chapters accompanied by ample citations and a fine glossary of terms
Assessment: As institutions across the nation and the world grapple with how to make optimal use of computer technology in the transformation of modern medicine, questions about best to evaluate proposals for new systems and how to analyze existing systems are a first-order priority. Moreover, the book wrestles with deep questions that probe the structure of scientific studies themselves. What kinds of studies are there? What are their strengths and limitations? How do methods of science best apply to the still-developing field of medical informatics? This book will not be of interest to novice computer users or those trying to outfit a small office. However, any scholar interested in reviewing the scientific basis of evaluation methods will find the clarity of the work and its meticulous documentation by extensive citations a classic. For those who lack the reading time to absorb a 300-page text, just reviewing the seven-page glossary will be a useful exercise to get a grasp of the numerous reports in business and academia that will be forthcoming in the next decade about computers in medicine.