Health Information and the Quality and Safety of Care for People With Disability: An Analysis of Australian Reports of Reviewable Deaths in Residential Care.

Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Patient Safety, 2021, Publish Ahead of Print, (&NA;), pp. &na
Issue Date:
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OBJECTIVE:Many Australians with disability live in residential care and require assistance to manage their health information across hybrid care settings encompassing residential care, primary and tertiary care, and allied health. In this study, we examined case study reports on people with disability living in residential care in New South Wales, Australia to (a) identify threats to the quality of care and safety for this vulnerable patient group in relation to health documentation and information infrastructure and (b) evaluate the applicability of a conceptual health information infrastructure model. METHODS:All 99 case studies were extracted from eight New South Wales Ombudsmen reports of reviewable deaths for a directed content analysis applying a conceptual model of health information infrastructure in residential care. RESULTS:Ninety-one percent of case studies (n = 90) contained information relation to documentation. Forty-seven percent of case studies (n = 47) linked failures in documentation to risk of death, and 12% (n = 12) described best practice use of documentation. Threats to quality of care and safety related to poor "coordination" of information, including information not being implemented, poor "communication" across services, and discrepancies between "policy and practice" in health management. CONCLUSIONS:The conceptual model demonstrated how "coordination" and "communication" of health information relate to tensions between "policy and practice," influencing the safety and quality of care for people with disability in residential care. The model was a good fit to investigate how health information infrastructure may affect the quality of residential care and could inform holistic digital solutions to deliver safer, integrated, and higher quality care for people with disability.
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