ANCHOR LEAD: CAREFULLY DESIGNED COMPUTER TOOLS CAN HELP DELIVER BETTER HEALTH CARE, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Interfacing computers with health care has sometimes resulted in better care, and sometimes not. A new computer-based tool developed by Christoph Lehmann and colleagues at Johns Hopkins has been shown to improve many aspects of antibiotic use in hospitalized children.
LEHMANN: We designed a web-based tool. Instead of picking up the telephone the residents go to a web page, select the patient, select the antibiotic that they want, and then they submit this request to the pager for the infectious disease person. We surveyed our users and the residents loved it. They had less missed doses, they had less time to turnaround, and so the users were happy. :22
Lehmann says additional analysis of the system’s utility also revealed the surprising finding that the web tool substantially reduced the cost of antibiotics used in the children’s center. Lehmann says just this application could save millions of dollars in expenses annually for the healthcare system as a whole. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.