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Conference Summary: Computers in Respiratory Care

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Abstract:

Computers and data mangement in respiratory care reflect the larger practices of hospital information systems: the diversity of conference topics provides evidence. Respiratory care computing has shown a steady, slow progression from writing programs that calculate shunt equations to departmental management systems. Wider acceptance and utilization have been stifled by costs, both initial and on-going. Several authors pointed out the savings that were realized from information systems exceeded the costs of implementation and maintenance. The most significant finding from one of the presentations was that no other structure or skilled personnel could provide respiratory care more efficiently or cost-effectively than respiratory therapists. Online information resources have increased, in forms ranging from peer-reviewed journals to corporate-sponsored advertising posing as authoritative treatment regimens. Practitioners and patients need to know how to use these resources as well as how to judge the value of information they present. Departments are using computers for training on a schedule that is more convenient for the staff, providing information in a timely manner and potentially in more useful formats. Portable devices, such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) have improved the ability not only to share data to dispersed locations, but also to collect data at the point of care, thus greatly improving data capture. Ventilators are changing from simple automated bellows to complex systems collecting numerous respiratory parameters and offering feedback to improve ventilation. Clinical databases routinely collect information from a wide variety of resources and can be used for analysis to improve patient outcomes. What could possibly go wrong?

Keywords: COMPUTERS; DATA COLLECTION; HANDHELD COMPUTER; INFORMATION MANAGEMENT; MEDICAL ERRORS; PATIENT DATA PRIVACY; PDA; PERSONAL DIGITAL ASSISTANT; TRAINING TECHNIQUES

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Pulmonary Industrial Testing Associates, 8314 W 128th Street, Overland Park KS 66213;, Email: sbn_kc@mac.com

Publication date: May 1, 2004

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