Sharing is Caring Integrating Health Information Systems to Support Patient-Centred Shared Homecare

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: In the light of an ageing society with shrinking economic resources, deinstitutionalization of elderly care is a general trend. As a result, homecare is increasing, and increasingly shared between different health and social care organizations. To provide a holistic overview about the patient care process, i.e. to be patient-centred, shared homecare needs to be integrated. This requires improved support for information sharing and cooperation between different actors, such as care professionals, patients and their relatives.The research objectives of this thesis are therefore to study information and communication needs for patient-centered shared homecare, to explore how integrated information and communication technology (ICT) can support information sharing, and to analyze how current standards for continuity of care and semantic interoperability meet requirements of patient-centered shared homecare.An action research approach, characterized by an iterative cycle, an emphasis on change and close collaboration with practitioners, patients and their relatives, was used. Studying one specific homecare setting closely, intersection points between involved actors and specific needs for information sharing were identified and described as shared information objects. An integration architecture making shared information objects available through integration of existing systems was designed and implemented. Mobile virtual health record (VHR) applications thereby enable a seamless flow of information between involved actors. These applications were tested and validated in the [email protected] Moreover, the underlying information model for a shared care plan was mapped against current standards. Some important discrepancies were identified between these results and current standards for continuity of care, stressing the importance of evaluating standardized models against requirements of evolving healthcare contexts.In conclusion, this thesis gives important insights into the needs and requirements of shared homecare, enabling a shift towards patient-centered homecare through mobile access to aggregated information from current feeder systems and documentation at the point of need.