Last week I caught up with David Kibbe, one of the pioneers of personal health records. As usual I learned a lot from him. One idea that stuck with me is further explained in his blog post about clinical groupware. Here is the introduction:
What would you call health care software that:
- Is Web-based and networkable, therefore highly scalable and inexpensive to purchase and use;
- Provides a ‘unified view’ of a patient from multiple sources of data and information;
- Is designed to be used interactively – by providers and patients alike – to coordinate care and create continuity;
- Offers evidence-based guidance and coaching, personalized by access to a person’s health data as it changes;
- Collects, for analysis and reporting, quality and performance measures as the routine by-product of its normal daily use;
- Aims to provide patients and their providers with a collaborative workflow platform for decision support; and
- Creates a care plan for each individual and then monitors the progress of each patient and provider in meeting the goals of that plan?
I call this Clinical Groupware. The term captures the basic notion that the primary purpose for using these IT systems is to improve clinical care through communications and coordination involving a team of people, the patient included. And in a manner that fosters accountability in terms of quality and cost.
David nicely summarized the way I wish all clinical software worked. Lightweight, collaborative and useful rather than the antonyms that characterise most existing software that hospitals buy. I created a page about clinical groupware on the PHR wiki to start listing companies that fit these criteria. As we launch, I hope that our software will earn its place in that list.