Background: Clinicians view the accuracy of test results and the turnaround time as the two most important service aspects of the clinical microbiology laboratory. Because of the time needed for the culturing of infectious agents, final hardcopy culture results will often be available too late to have a significant impact on early antimicrobial therapy decisions, vital in infectious disease management. The clinical microbiologist therefore reports to the clinician clinically relevant preliminary results at any moment during the diagnostic process, mostly by telephone. Telephone reporting is error prone, however. Electronic reporting of culture results instead of reporting on paper may shorten the turnaround time and may ensure correct communication of results. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of the implementation of electronic reporting of final microbiology results on medical decision making. Methods. In a pre- and post-interview study using a semi-structured design we asked medical specialists in our hospital about their use and appreciation of clinical microbiology results reporting before and after the implementation of an electronic reporting system. Results: Electronic reporting was highly appreciated by all interviewed clinicians. Major advantages were reduction of hardcopy handling and the possibility to review results in relation to other patient data. Use and meaning of microbiology reports differ significantly between medical specialties. Most clinicians need preliminary results for therapy decisions quickly. Therefore, after the implementation of electronic reporting, telephone consultation between clinician and microbiologist remained the key means of communication. Conclusions: Overall, electronic reporting increased the workflow efficiency of the medical specialists, but did not have an impact on their decision-making.

dx.doi.org/10.1186/1472-6947-11-19, hdl.handle.net/1765/60387
B M C Medical Informatics and Decision Making
Health Care Governance (HCG)

Bruins, M.J, Ruijs, G, Wolfhagen, M.J.H.M, Bloembergen, P, & Aarts, J.E.C.M. (2011). Does electronic clinical microbiology results reporting influence medical decision making: A pre- and post-interview study of medical specialists. B M C Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 11(1). doi:10.1186/1472-6947-11-19