Appl Clin Inform 2019; 10(04): 771-776
DOI: 10.1055/s-0039-1697594
State of the Art/Best Practice Paper
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Improving the Effectiveness of Health Information Technology: The Case for Situational Analytics

Laurie Lovett Novak
1  Department of Biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, United States
,
Shilo Anders
1  Department of Biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, United States
2  Center for Research and Innovation in Systems Safety, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, United States
,
Kim M. Unertl
1  Department of Biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, United States
,
Daniel J. France
2  Center for Research and Innovation in Systems Safety, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, United States
,
Matthew B. Weinger
1  Department of Biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, United States
2  Center for Research and Innovation in Systems Safety, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, United States
› Author Affiliations
Funding This study was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, and U.S. National Library of Medicine (grant 4 R00 LM010038–02).
Further Information

Publication History

05 March 2019

04 August 2019

Publication Date:
09 October 2019 (online)

Abstract

Health information technology has contributed to improvements in quality and safety in clinical settings. However, the implementation of new technologies in health care has also been associated with the introduction of new sociotechnical hazards, produced through a range of complex interactions that vary with social, physical, temporal, and technological context. Other industries have been confronted with this problem and have developed advanced analytics to examine context-specific activities of workers and related outcomes. The skills and data exist in health care to develop similar insights through situational analytics, defined as the application of analytic methods to characterize human activity in situations and identify patterns in activity and outcomes that are influenced by contextual factors. This article describes the approach of situational analytics and potentially useful data sources, including trace data from electronic health record activity, reports from users, qualitative field data, and locational data. Key implementation requirements are discussed, including the need for collaboration among qualitative researchers and data scientists, organizational and federal level infrastructure requirements, and the need to implement a parallel research program in ethics to understand how the data are being used by organizations and policy makers.

Protection of Human and Animal Subjects

This paper does not present new research data for which Human Subjects approval is required. The published research referenced in the paper was approved by the Vanderbilt University Institutional Review Board.