Clinicians often need access to electronic information resources that answer questions that occur in daily clinical practice. This information generally comes from publicly available resources. However, clinicians also need knowledge on institution-specific information (e.g.; institution-specific guidelines, choice of drug, choice of laboratory test, information on adverse events, and advice from professional colleagues). This information needs to be available in real time. This study characterizes these needs in order to build a prototype hospital information system (HIS) that can help clinicians get timely answers to questions. We previously designed medical knowledge units called Medical Cells (MCs). We developed a portal server of MCs that can create and store medical information such as institution-specific information. We then developed a prototype HIS that embeds MCs as links (MCLink); these links are based on specific terms (e.g.; drug, laboratory test, and disease). This prototype HIS presents clinicians with institution-specific information. The HIS clients (e.g.; clinicians, nurses, pharmacists, and laboratory technicians) can also create an MCLink in the HIS using the portal server in the hospital. The prototype HIS allowed efficient sharing and use of institution-specific information to clinicians at the point of care. This study included institution-specific information resources and advice from professional colleagues, both of which might have an important role in supporting good clinical decision making.
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