Documentation Issues for Mechanical Ventilation in Pressure-Control Modes

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As hospitals begin to implement electronic medical records, the inadequacies of legacy paper charting systems will become more evident. One area of particular concern for respiratory therapists is the charting of mechanical ventilator settings. Our profession's lack of a standardized and generally accepted taxonomy for mechanical ventilation leaves us with a confusing array of terms related to ventilator settings. Such confusion makes database design impossible for information technology professionals and is a risk-management concern for clinicians. Of particular note is the complexity related to set airway pressures when using modes whose primary control variable is pressure (versus volume). We review the clinically relevant issues surrounding documentation of the patient-ventilator interactions related to airway pressure and provide suggestions for a standardized vocabulary.

Keywords: charting; information technology; mechanical ventilation; medical informatics; medical record; simulation; taxonomy; terminology; ventilator design

Document Type: Special Article

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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