Saturday, July 3, 2010

Policy definitions for common front-line informatics tools?

First, this week, I thought I'd offer up an interesting problem. You can help solve the problem.

I put up what I think are "Nine common front-line Health Informatics Tools" on Wikipedia :

These are nine tools that almost every hospital uses, to accomplish their day-to-day operations.
The curious thing is that there seems to be little national consensus on the definitions of these tools.

I looked through the Joint Commission, CMS, AMIA, and HIMSS web sites, and was unable to find good policy definitions of these tools.

Most hospitals have as one of their primary administrative policies, a policy that spells out the use of one or more of these tools. But since there is little national consensus, it seems most hospitals have to write that first administrative policy from scratch. (Do I have any readers who can comment more about this?)

So I took my first stab at writing a middle-of-the-road definition of these tools, and put it up on Wikipedia. And within 5 minutes, the Wikipedia editors rightfully told me these entries would be taken down in 7 days if I could not produce proper citations for these tools.

I sought more sources, and was able to find some help on clinical order sets through the Institute of Safe Medication Practices web site ( -

But unfortunately, I'm having significant challenge in finding additional sources.

If you have time, feel free to go to Wikipedia and contribute either sources or edits that could help shape the political, legal, and cognitive framework on which all front-line informatics tools may be built in the future. :)

(In the meantime, I've approached some big people in the Informatics Industry - We'll see where we can get in the next seven days. Talk about a challenge!) :)

Stay tuned - Next post will be the training post I promised. :)

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