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Volume 8, Issue 2 (March 2006) 8, 235–241; 10.1111/j.1745-7262.2006.00131.x

Optimising workflow in andrology: a new electronic patient record and database

Frank Tüttelmann, C Marc Luetjens and Eberhard Nieschlag

Institute of Reproductive Medicine of the University, Münster D-48129, Germany

Correspondence: Prof. Eberhard Nieschlag, Institute of Reproductive Medicine of the University, Domagkstrasse 11, D-48129 Münster, Germany. Fax: +49-251-8356-093. E-mail: eberhard.nieschlag@ukmuenster.de

Received 5 July 2005; Accepted 21 December 2005.


Aim: To improve workflow and usability by introduction of a new electronic patient record (EPR) and database.

Methods: Establishment of an EPR based on open source technology (MySQL database and PHP scripting language) in a tertiary care andrology center at a university clinic. Workflow analysis, a benchmark comparing the two systems and a survey for usability and ergonomics were carried out.

Results: Workflow optimizations (electronic ordering of laboratory analysis, elimination of transcription steps and automated referral letters) and the decrease in time required for data entry per patient to 71% 27%, P < 0.05, lead to a workload reduction. The benchmark showed a significant performance increase (highest with starting the respective system: 1.3 0.2 s vs. 11.1 0.2 s, mean SD). In the survey, users rated the new system at least two ranks higher over its predecessor (P < 0.01) in all sub-areas.

Conclusion: With further improvements, today's EPR can evolve to substitute paper records, saving time (and possibly costs), supporting user satisfaction and expanding the basis for scientific evaluation when more data is electronically available. Newly introduced systems should be versatile, adaptable for users, and workflow-oriented to yield the highest benefit. If ready-made software is purchased, customization should be implemented during rollout.

Keywords: electronic patient record, andrology, workflow management, Androbase, PHP scripting language, MySQL database

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