Needs Assessment and System Design: Implementation of an Electronic Charting and Database System at a Canadian Poison Centre
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The IWK Regional Poison Centre at the time of this paper kept only paper-based patient care records. The growing number of queries regarding statistical data on poisonings in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island prompted the plan to implement an electronic charting and database system. The internship undertaken by the author, was to perform initial tasks related to the implementation of an electronic charting and database system. The author conducted a needs assessment of the IWK Regional Poison Centre with regards to the new computerized system and presented recommendations to the Clinical Leader and Manager of the poison centre along with representatives of the IWK Health Centre Information Technology (IT), Health Records and Quality Resources Departments. Dr. Raza Abidi provided feedback related to the project progress throughout the internship. Through research conducted regarding the current use of electronic charting and database systems in poison centres throughout Canada and the United States the Visual Dotlab system was located and approved for implementation. In performing her duties at the IWK Regional Poison Centre the author discovered that web technology, which may have best suited the needs of specific healthcare organizations or departments was being under-used based on misconceptions held by both healthcare and IT professionals. This prompted further research into the use of web technology in the healthcare field and advocacy for increased awareness of the benefits of this technology for specified use.