Development of a health information technology-based data system in community-based hospice and palliative care.
BACKGROUND: Few hospice and palliative care organizations use health information technology (HIT) for data collection and management; the feasibility and utility of a HIT-based approach in this multi-faceted, interdisciplinary context is unclear. PURPOSE: To develop a HIT-based data infrastructure that serves multiple hospice and palliative care sites, meeting clinical and administrative needs with data, technical, and analytic support. METHODS: Through a multi-site academic/community partnership, a data infrastructure was collaboratively developed, pilot-tested at a community-based site, refined, and demonstrated for data collection and preliminary analysis. Additional sites, which participated in system development, became prepared to contribute data to the growing aggregate database. RESULTS: Electronic data collection proved feasible in community-based hospice and palliative care. The project highlighted "success factors" for implementing HIT in this field: engagement of site-based project "champions" to promote the system from within; involvement of stakeholders at all levels of the organization, to promote culture change and buy-in; attention to local needs (e.g., data for quality reporting) and requirements (e.g., affordable cost, efficiency); consideration of practical factors (e.g., potential to interfere with clinical flow); provision of adequate software, technical, analytic, and statistical support; availability of flexible HIT options (e.g., different data-collection platforms); and adoption of a consortium approach in which sites can support one another, learn from each others' experiences, pool data, and benefit from economies of scale. CONCLUSIONS: In hospice and palliative care, HIT-based data collection/management has potential to generate better understanding of populations and outcomes, support quality assessment/quality improvement, and prepare sites to participate in research.
Abernethy, AP; Wheeler, JL; Bull, J
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