Evaluating a proof-of-concept approach of the german health telematics infrastructure in the context of discharge management
Although national eHealth strategies have existed now for more than a decade in many countries, they have been implemented with varying success. In Germany, the eHealth strategy so far has resulted in a roll out of electronic health cards for all citizens in the statutory health insurance, but in no clinically meaningful IT-applications. The aim of this study was to test the technical and organisation feasibility, usability, and utility of an eDischarge application embedded into a laboratory Health Telematics Infrastructure (TI). The tests embraced the exchange of eDischarge summaries based on the multiprofessional HL7 eNursing Summary standard between a municipal hospital and a nursing home. All in all, 36 transmissions of electronic discharge documents took place. They demonstrated the technical-organisation feasibility and resulted in moderate usability ratings. A comparison between eDischarge and paper-based summaries hinted at higher ratings of utility and information completeness for eDischarges. Despite problems with handling the electronic health card, the proof-of-concept for the first clinically meaningful IT-application in the German Health TI could be regarded as successful.