Cardiovascular point of care initiative: enhancements in clinical data management.
The Department of Cardiovascular Surgery at East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC) initiated a program in 1996 to improve the quality and usefulness of clinical outcomes data. After years of using a commercial vendor product and enduring a tedious collection process, the department decided to develop its own tools to support quality improvement efforts. Using a hand-held personal data assistant (PDA), the team developed tools that allowed ongoing data collection at the point of care delivery. The tools and methods facilitated the collection of real time, accurate information that allowed EAMC to participate in multiple clinical quality initiatives. The ability to conduct rapid-cycle performance improvement studies propelled EAMC's Cardiovascular Surgery Program into the Top 100 as recognized by HCIA, now Solucient, for 3 consecutive years (1999-2001). This report will describe the evolution of the data collection process as well as the quality improvements that resulted.
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