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Arch Hellen Med, 25(1), January-February 2008, 102-110


Emergency department and information systems support

1"G. Gennimatas" General Hospital of Athens,
2Research Academic Computer Technology Institute (RACTI),
3Health Services Management Consultant, 4 Athen's "Euroclinic", Athens, Greece

Those who are in regular contact with the emergency department (ED), either as members of the staff or as external associates, and who are aware of the promptness required in handling patients, the necessity for immediate decision making and the need for analysis referrals, realize that most of the information systems installed in the other hospital departments are not at all appropriate for the special and specific requirements of the ED. The benefits of information systems in the ED are, specifically: Better management, assistance in medical decision making, intercommunication with ambulances for the better preparation of the patients' reception, and with other hospitals, for the optimal planning of forwarding of the patients, fast retrieval of patients' medical record; these possibilities constitute only some of the multiple advantages that the application of informatics may induce. In Greece relatively recently with relevant legislation, the up-to-date operation of EDs has been altered, transforming into independent departments with self-administration and specialized personnel, and allocation of a more operational lay out of space and planned manipulation of the flow of the arriving patients. As this gives a new start for EDs, it can and must be linked with an organized and well-designed introduction of the necessary information systems, in order to ensure the optimal improvement of the medical services offered. This paper examines the information systems that are capable of providing immediate support for ED operation. Particular emphasis is given to the application of state-of-the-art technologies so that the special requirements of EDs are satisfied. Finally the critical success factors are marked to which it should be given particular attention for the success of the entire mission of the introduction of informatics infrastructures.

Key words: Electronic patient record, Emergency department, Hospital information system, Medical Informatics.

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