Professor of Biomedical Informatics
Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics
IU Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
Improving how clinicians access electronic information about their patients
Electronic information systems are essential to improving health and healthcare. Inherent in this statement is the belief that healthcare providers should have access to as much information as possible about their patients. While our ability to provide lots of information about each patient to clinicians has grown exponentially, our ability to do so efficiently has not. Clinicians typically invest significant effort and time to retrieve and synthesize information about their patients from multiple computer systems. We have developed a platform called Health Dart, which integrates information from a statewide repository of health information into the electronic health record (EHR) clinicians use at IU Health. Health Dart provides information highly relevant to seven chief complaints common in emergency medicine directly within the EHR – while reducing the time and effort required to obtain this information by a factor of 10. Health Dart is grounded in evidence from the field of human-computer interaction, which demonstrates that reducing the physical and cognitive effort needed to put information together allows the user to increase their focus on high-value tasks, such as review and decision-making. In addition, using information in common health information repositories has significant benefits, such as reduced duplicate tests, improved clinical outcomes and lower costs. Our approach is inter-/cross-disciplinary inasmuch clinical informaticians, emergency medicine clinicians, public health experts, human-computer interaction specialists, programmers and database experts work together on this project. In addition, our work is also inter-organizational: Our partners include the Regenstrief Institute, IU School of Medicine, IU Health, the IU Fairbanks School of Public Health and the Indiana Health Information Exchange. Last, we improve everyday life for physicians and patients because we facilitate decision-making during diagnosis and treatment in the emergency department. As a visible sign of the value of our contribution, IU Health asked us deploy Health Dart across all of its 15 emergency departments statewide. This deployment was completed in August 2020. Other local health systems, health IT vendors and others are also very interested in adopting our project.