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CIS-based registration of quality of life in a single source approach
Background: Documenting quality of life (QoL) in routine medical care and using it both for treatment and for clinical research is not common, although such information is absolutely valuable for physicians and patients alike. We therefore aimed at developing an efficient method to integrate quality of life information into the clinical information system (CIS) and thus make it available for clinical care and secondary use.
Methods: We piloted our method in three different medical departments, using five different QoL questionnaires. In this setting we used structured interviews and onsite observations to perform workflow and form analyses. The forms and pertinent data reports were implemented using the integrated tools of the local CIS. A web-based application for mobile devices was developed based on XML schemata to facilitate data import into the CIS. Data exports of the CIS were analysed with statistical software to perform an analysis of data quality.
Results: The quality of life questionnaires are now regularly documented by patients and physicians. The resulting data is available in the Electronic Health Record (EHR) and can be used for treatment purposes and communication as well as research functionalities. The completion of questionnaires by the patients themselves using a mobile device (iPad) and the import of the respective data into the CIS forms were successfully tested in a pilot installation. The quality of data is rendered high by the use of automatic score calculations as well as the automatic creation of forms for follow-up documentation. The QoL data was exported to research databases for use in scientific analysis.
Conclusion: The CIS-based QoL is technically feasible, clinically accepted and provides an excellent quality of data for medical treatment and clinical research. Our approach with a commercial CIS and the web-based application is transferable to other sites.