Information and communication technology in health care: Do we need feedback?
International Journal of Medical Informatics , Volume 66 - Issue 1-3 p. 75- 83
Applying information and communication technology (ICT) to a given medical domain is not merely adding a new technique. When applied to a medical domain, ICT has the potential to radically change processes in that domain. In their paper 'Health care in the information society: a prognosis for the year 2013' Haux and co-workers provide us with a set of predictions based on progress in three main areas: (1) patient-centred recording and use of medical data for collaborative care; (2) process-integrated decision support; and (3) comprehensive use of patient data for research and health care reporting. We complement their theses by predicting some of the feedback mechanisms that will develop as ICT is shaping health care. Feedback is return to the input of a part of the output of a mechanism; this part of the input constituting information that reports discrepancies between intended and actual operation and leads to a self-correcting action that can be utilised. We discuss feedback in the areas Haux identifies: the patient record, decision support, and the use of data for research and health care reporting. For each of these domains, we will discuss the output that serves as input, the discrepancies discovered, and the self-correction that will or should follow.