Handling Anticipated Exceptions in Clinical Care: Investigating the Benefits and Consequences of Providing “Exit Strategies” in Computerized Clinical Information Systems
Unpredictable yet frequently occurring exception situations pervade clinical care. Handling them properly often requires aberrant actions temporarily departing from normal practice. In this study, the authors investigated several exception-handling procedures provided in an electronic health records system for facilitating clinical documentation, which the authors refer to as ‘data entry exit strategies.’ Through a longitudinal analysis of computer-recorded usage data, the authors found that (1) utilization of the exit strategies was not affected by postimplementation system maturity or patient visit volume, suggesting clinicians' needs to ‘exit’ unwanted situations are persistent; and (2) clinician type and gender are strong predictors of exit-strategy usage. Drilldown analyses further revealed that the exit strategies were judiciously used and enabled actions that would be otherwise difficult or impossible. However, many data entries recorded via them could have been ‘properly’ documented, yet were not, and a considerable proportion containing temporary or incomplete information was never subsequently amended. These findings may have significant implications for the design of safer and more user-friendly point-of-care information systems for healthcare.
Kai Zheng, David A. Hanauer, Rema Padman, Michael P. Johnson Jr., Anwar A. Hussain, Wen Ye, Xiaomu Zhou, and Herbert S. Diamond. "Handling Anticipated Exceptions in Clinical Care: Investigating the Benefits and Consequences of Providing “Exit Strategies” in Computerized Clinical Information Systems" Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association 18.6 (2011): 883-889.