While hospital information systems have primarily been designed to support clinicians and hospital administrators, there is growing interest in extending traditional systems to directly share information with patients. For example, Personal Health Record (PHR) systems allow patients to access information from their medical records online. Researchers have addressed questions of information sharing and security in PHRs and have demonstrated that PHRs can bridge critical gaps in continuity of care. However, there has been limited research exploring the sharing of health information with patients during hospital visits. Electronic systems can be designed to provide tailored information to patients on the status of their therapies, their care teams, and their expected care plans. Such sharing of information can provide unprecedented opportunities to educate patients, and, more generally, to better engage patients in their care and post-discharge care planning. One important type of clinical information to make available to inpatients is medication information. While there is evidence that hospital inpatients would like a timely, electronic view of the inpatient medications that have been administered to them during their care, electronic patient-facing views of medication information in the hospital have only recently begun to emerge. This research will deploy and evaluate a custom PHR portal providing access to real-time medication information for hospitalized patients. Through interactive browsing of organized views of this medication information, patients can maintain awareness of scheduled and completed medication therapies, and learn more about them by accessing educational summaries. Both clinicians and patients will be engaged in user interface (UI) design studies to guide computational techniques to yield patient-friendly views of medication information (Aim 1). Cardiac patients and their families will use tablet devices to access a Web application that integrates data from an existing electronic health record (EHR) and PHR system to provide timely views of current and discontinued inpatient medications (Aim 2). To evaluate the impact of timely access to organized views of this medication information in the inpatient setting, patient satisfaction, engagement and knowledge of inpatient medications will be measured through the use of validated surveys (Aim 2). Although this dissertation focuses on techniques to format and organize medication information, results can potentially be extended to the organization of several clinical data types, such as labs, procedures and aspects of medical history.

Public Health Relevance

There has been limited research to date that explores the impact of providing hospitalized patients with access to health information technology. This research will yield new insights into how such technology can be used to educate and engage hospitalized patients and their families, by developing a tablet-computer-based user interface with which hospitalized patients and their families can review their medication information. It wil advance scientific knowledge in the field of patient-clinician communication, demonstrate new technical capabilities for sharing information among patients and their care team, and explore potential improvements to patient engagement, knowledge, and satisfaction.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Dissertation Award (R36)
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HSR Health Care Research Training SS (HCRT)
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Willis, Tamara
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Columbia University (N.Y.)
Engineering (All Types)
Schools of Engineering
New York
United States
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Prey, Jennifer E; Woollen, Janet; Wilcox, Lauren et al. (2014) Patient engagement in the inpatient setting: a systematic review. J Am Med Inform Assoc 21:742-50