Parents using electronic kiosk provide more accurate clinical information than emergency room providers

Research Activities, April 2011, No. 368

Parents using a software program, ParentLink, in an emergency department kiosk provide more accurate information relevant to the emergency care of their children than the medical charts completed by emergency department (ED) providers, reveals a new study. For example, parents' reports of allergies to medications were significantly more valid than those of nurses and physicians (94 vs. 88 and 83 percent), according to a team of researchers headed by Stephen C. Porter, M.D., of the Children's Hospital Boston. Parents of 193 children seen for head trauma who used ParentLink produced more complete information on the head trauma than the medical record for five of seven elements, such as loss of consciousness and "sleepy/not right."

The children were being treated at an urban or suburban hospital ED for a variety of complaints that included head trauma, ear pain, respiratory problems, fever, and painful or difficult urination. Parents used ParentLink to enter data on a mobile kiosk that generated a printed report. Physicians completed patient charts via phone dictation or computerized documentation. Nurses charted on paper and transitioned to electronic charting during the study period.

The researchers abstracted the documentation by doctors and nurses and compared it with information generated by ParentLink. All participating parents (1,111) of pediatric ED patients also completed a post-ED telephone interview. The year-long study alternated 3-month intervention periods when ParentLink was used with 3-month control periods when only provider entry was used. The researchers concluded that structured data collection produces more superior information than the unstructured documentation by providers. ParentLink is one mechanism that can support such a structured approach. This study was supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS14947).

See "Patients providing the answers: Narrowing the gap in data quality for emergency care," by Dr. Porter, Peter Forbes, M.A., Shannon Manzi, Pharm.D., and others in the Quality and Safety in Health Care 19, pp. 1-5, 2010.

Current as of April 2011
Internet Citation: Parents using electronic kiosk provide more accurate clinical information than emergency room providers: Research Activities, April 2011, No. 368. April 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.