The Hannover Medical School (HMS), a partner in the HiGHmed consortium in Germany, has independently developed a Cardiology Anamnesis Application for the structured collection and storage of medical data. In order to do so, they used Better EHR Studio, an integral part of Better Platform. This application has a modern and user-friendly interface that can be well-integrated into any day-to-day clinical routine, as it offers the possibility to use a tablet and access data at a patient’s bed. Currently, the application is used by study nurses and is intended to be used by several doctors in the future, perhaps even by patients themselves.
We spoke with Kim Katrin Sommer, M.Sc., a research associate at the Peter L. Reichertz Institute for Medical Informatics of TU Braunschweig and Hannover Medical School, who created the application.
The main purpose of the application is to integrate heart failure patient data, and make this data accessible across different sites. To do this, a data set has been agreed upon, and it includes data from different medical fields such as anamnesis, medication, echocardiography, ECG, and more. Kim Katrin Sommer, M.Sc., said, “In the past, the anamnesis data of cardio patients at the Hannover Medical School was available only in an unstructured format in a physician’s letter, resulting in a demand to create new structured input options. The Cardio Anamnesis App, based on the Better EHR Studio, offers the possibility of entering the data in a structured way and saving it in an openEHR format directly within the platform. Another advantage of the web-based forms is the possibility of using tablets, and the resulting mobility that brings. At the HMS, tablets are currently being ordered, and in the future the anamnesis will be done directly at the patient’s bed.”
The first version of the application was ready within a few days. The refinements took some more time, and the HMS plans to implement additional features to the application. Kim Katrin Sommer, M.Sc., explains, “A further step that is to be implemented in the near future is to allow the data, which is captured in a structured way with the app, to be integrated into the physician’s letter. Another idea is that patients fill in the anamnesis form partially by themselves, and this is later confirmed by a doctor. This would also be a great time-saver in an everyday clinical practice.”
The development team was multidisciplinary, with a senior cardiologist and further study nurses as well as clinicians from all use case cardio sites involved. Kim Katrin Sommer, M.Sc., describes their role in the process: “The study nurses have reviewed the application, as they are the ones who will be using this application in the first phase. Here, I got a lot of good hints regarding usability in the daily clinical routine. In a group consisting of the cardiologist, the study nurses and medical informatic specialists, we discussed new ideas to integrate the application even more effectively. In the process of harmonising all data models in the use case, clinicians from all use case cardio sites were involved.”
The openEHR approach allows for the structured storage of medical data, which makes it possible to query data in a structured way. “This is a very important point for answering research questions in cardiology use cases. Better Platform enables this structured storage of data and, with the AQL Editor, it creates an easy way to query the data directly in the platform. Better EHR Studio simplifies the creation of input possibilities from the data models (templates),” concludes Kim Katrin Sommer, M.Sc., who also shares some of the things she learned in the process: “In many clinical areas, structured reporting is still in its infancy. The openEHR approach offers a great opportunity to create interoperable data.”
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