How are allied health notes used for inpatient care and clinical decision-making? a qualitative exploration of the views of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals

Pain, Tilley, Kingston, Gail, Askern, Janet, Smith, Rebecca, Phillips, Sandra, and Bell, Leanne (2017) How are allied health notes used for inpatient care and clinical decision-making? a qualitative exploration of the views of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals. Health Information Management Journal, 46 (1). pp. 23-31.

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Background: Inpatient care is dependent upon the effective transfer of clinical information across multiple professions. However, documented patient clinical information generated by different professions is not always successfully transferred between them. One obstacle to successful information transfer may be the reader's perception of the information, which is framed in a particular professional context, rather than the information per se.

Objective: The aim of this research was to investigate how different health professionals perceive allied health documentation and to investigate how clinicians of all experience levels across medicine, nursing and allied health perceive and use allied health notes to inform their decision-making and treatment of patients.

Method: The study used a qualitative approach. A total of 53 speech pathologists, nurses, doctors, occupational therapists, dieticians and social workers (8 males; 43 females) from an Australian regional tertiary hospital participated in eleven single discipline focus groups, conducted over 4 months in 2012. Discussions were recorded and transcribed verbatim and coded into themes by content analysis.

Findings: Six themes contributing to the efficacy of clinical information transference emerged from the data: day-to-day care, patient function, discharge and discharge planning, impact of busy workloads, format and structure of allied health documentation and a holistic approach to patient care.

Discussion: Other professions read and used allied health notes albeit with differences in focus and need. Readers searched for specific pieces of information to answer their own questions and professional needs, in a process akin to purposive sampling. Staff used allied health notes to explore specific aspects of patient function but did not obtain a holistic picture.

Conclusion: Improving both the relationship between the various health professions and interpretation of other professions' documented clinical information may reduce the frequency of communication errors, thereby improving patient care.

Item ID: 50383
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1833-3575
Keywords: medical records, nursing records, inpatients, allied health occupations, physicians, communication, clinical decision-making, electronic health records, clinical documentation, health information management
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 08:26
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420306 Health care administration @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920201 Allied Health Therapies (excl. Mental Health Services) @ 80%
92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920299 Health and Support Services not elsewhere classified @ 20%
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