Cost-effective health information systems: user-driven internal development at the University of Iowa.

J. R. Flanagan, J. D. Olson, J. R. Wagner, N. E. Nuehring, S. D. Krumbholz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


GOALS: The Information Network For Online Retrieval & Medical Management (INFORMM), health information system (HIS) for the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC), was analyzed with regard to development of a Computer-Based Patient Record (CBPR) in a cost-effective manner. The analysis: i) profiles INFORMM system functionality; ii) displays INFORMM use and satisfaction among physicians, nurses, and other hospital employees; iii) characterizes dynamics affecting INFORMM growth; and iv) evaluates the cost of a system of internal-development of software. DATA SOURCES: INFORMM utilization for 1989, 1994, and 1995; service requests from users for the years 1985, 1990, and 1994; 1994 MECON-PEERx data; gap analysis user survey conducted by an independent consulting firm. MAIN RESULTS: 1) Physician use has been dominated by a single function: retrieval of laboratory results. 2) Nurse use of the system was more diverse. A recent surge of nurse and physician use resulted from the introduction of online documentation of nursing care. 3) Overall use has been predominantly by non-clinician users, no one function dominating their pattern of use. 4) User service requests were predominantly from the non-clinician group of users. Requests from non-physician groups have been coordinated by a limited number of representatives of those groups, unlike requests from physicians. 5) The UIHC HIS ranked high in user satisfaction. 6) The overall cost of the UIHC HIS system is relatively low as a percentage of the gross operating budget or as a ratio to the volume of patient activities in this medical center. CONCLUSIONS: Internal development of INFORMM has been a cost-effective solution to the information demands of nursing staff and other users. INFORMM system composition reflects the quantity and organization of user requests. Satisfying the needs of physicians requires a change in the manner in which physician needs are assessed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-707
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings / the ... Annual Symposium on Computer Application [sic] in Medical Care. Symposium on Computer Applications in Medical Care
StatePublished - 1995


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