A computational approach to primary healthcare information quality indicators : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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Massey University
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In many countries around the world Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are being leveraged to produce e ciency gains and cost reductions in healthcare by making health information more readily available in clinical contexts. This raises issues as to the use of health information in clinical decision making at point of care, as relying on poor quality information in this context can have serious consequences. This thesis investigates quality criteria that are used when assessing health information, with the objective of formalising those criteria for use with a prototype software system. Literature, as well as standards and currently used forms of electronic health records, were reviewed for what they o er for assessment of health information quality. A lack of criteria from these sources necessitated interviewing practicing General Practitioners (GPs) to determine criteria important to them, and how they assessed the information they want to use. Interviews were of a semi-structured type using vignettes, for clinical context. Recruitment used a Snowball methodology. Results were analysed and interpreted using Thematic Analysis and showed the GPs assessed information using criteria based on tacit knowledge, formed from community knowledge and past experience. The Quality Criteria (QC), discovered to be integral to this process, were formalised using the developed Quality Criteria Model (QCM). A prototype system was developed to demonstrate that using a current health information standard, meta-data could be used to detect the presence of QC within health information and capture these via instantiation of the QCM. The results of successful detection of QC are then Health Information Quality Indicators (HIQI). Contributions for this thesis include the following: the set of discovered QC, thematic maps that capture the combination of criteria and the process used when applying them, the formalised model for QC (the QCM), determination that additional meta-data will be required to detect those QC categorised as being subjectively evaluated, and the demonstration that a software system can detect, and capture, QC found in health information. Implications are discussed such as that just having access to information is insu cient, and subjectively evaluated QC are problematic for implementation and use. Finally, conclusions are drawn and future work suggested such as user interface development for HIQI representation, alternative search algorithms for QC detection, and further development of the prototype toward a production system.
Research Subject Categories::TECHNOLOGY::Information technology::Computer science