Interactive tools for inpatient medication tracking: a multi-phase study with cardiothoracic surgery patients

J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2016 Jan;23(1):144-58. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocv160. Epub 2016 Jan 7.


Objective: Prior studies of computing applications that support patients' medication knowledge and self-management offer valuable insights into effective application design, but do not address inpatient settings. This study is the first to explore the design and usefulness of patient-facing tools supporting inpatient medication management and tracking.

Materials and methods: We designed myNYP Inpatient, a custom personal health record application, through an iterative, user-centered approach. Medication-tracking tools in myNYP Inpatient include interactive views of home and hospital medication data and features for commenting on these data. In a two-phase pilot study, patients used the tools during cardiothoracic postoperative care at Columbia University Medical Center. In Phase One, we provided 20 patients with the application for 24-48 h and conducted a closing interview after this period. In Phase Two, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 12 patients and 5 clinical pharmacists who evaluated refinements to the tools based on the feedback received during Phase One.

Results: Patients reported that the medication-tracking tools were useful. During Phase One, 14 of the 20 participants used the tools actively, to review medication lists and log comments and questions about their medications. Patients' interview responses and audit logs revealed that they made frequent use of the hospital medications feature and found electronic reporting of questions and comments useful. We also uncovered important considerations for subsequent design of such tools. In Phase Two, the patients and pharmacists participating in the study confirmed the usability and usefulness of the refined tools.

Conclusions: Inpatient medication-tracking tools, when designed to meet patients' needs, can play an important role in fostering patient participation in their own care and patient-provider communication during a hospital stay.

Keywords: data display; hospital information systems; inpatients; patient medication knowledge; user-computer interface.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Health Records, Personal*
  • Hospital Information Systems*
  • Humans
  • Inpatients
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Medication Systems, Hospital*
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City
  • Pharmacists
  • Postoperative Care*
  • Self Care*
  • Thoracic Surgical Procedures*
  • User-Computer Interface