Objective: A prerequisite for integrated care programmes is the implementation of a communication network meeting quality assurance standards. Against this background the main objective of the integrated care project between the University Eye Hospital Erlangen and the health insurance company AOK Bayern was to evaluate the potential and the acceptance of a web-based electronic patient record in the context of cataract and retinal surgery.
Methods: Standardised modules for capturing pre-, intra- and post-operative data on the basis of clinical pathway guidelines for cataract- and retinal surgery have been developed. There are 6 data sets recorded per patient (1 pre-operative, 1 operative, 4-6 post-operative). For data collection, a web-based communication system (Soarian Integrated Care) has been chosen which meets the high requirements in data security, as well as being easy to handle. This teleconsultation system and the embedded electronic patient record are independent of the software used by respective offices and hospitals. Data transmission and storage were carried out in real-time.
Results: At present, 101 private ophthalmologists are taking part in the IGV contract with the University Eye Hospital Erlangen. This corresponds to 52% of all private ophthalmologists in the region. During the period from January 1st 2006 to December 31st 2006, 1844 patients were entered. Complete documentation was achieved in 1390 (75%) of all surgical procedures. For evaluation of this data, a multidimensional report and analysis tool (Cognos) was used. The deviation from target refraction as one quality indicator was in the mean 0.09 diopter.
Conclusions: The web-based patient record used in this project was highly accepted by the private ophthalmologists. However there are still general concerns against the exchange of medical data via the internet. Nevertheless, the web-based patient record is an essential tool for a functional integration between the ambulatory and stationary health-care units. In addition to the telemedicine functions of the system, we achieved the export of the data to a data warehouse system in order to provide a flexible and powerful tool for quality assurance analysis and reporting.