Health Information Infrastructure in Supported Accommodation in Australia

Article Title: Health Information Infrastructure for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) Living in Supported Accommodation: Communication, Co-Ordination and Integration of Health Information

Aims/Methods: This scoping review examined research, policies and health documents on the use of health documentation for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) living in supported accommodation in Australia. It aimed to describe the nature of current health information infrastructure for this group.

Results: The review included 286 sources from both peer-reviewed and grey literature. These sources addressed health documentation in supported accommodation. Seven content themes were identified as reflecting the current state of health information infrastructure:

  1. People
  2. Documentation
  3. Communication
  4. Coordination
  5. Care
  6. Isolated information systems, and
  7. Gaps between Policy and Practice.

Each theme contributes to a conceptual model of health information infrastructure that summarizes shortcomings in the current information system. Documents were stored at isolated sites (e.g., doctor’s offices, hospitals, supported accommodation). This limited the communication and co-ordination of care between health providers, support staff, and individuals with disability. Policies and guidelines provide an idealised view of paperwork in supported accommodation documentation (‘work as imagined’). However, the realities of the care environment (‘work as done’) reflected gaps between policy and practice.

Implications: Documented health information impacts on the quality of care and safety of people with I/DD in supported accommodation. Implementation of initiatives to improve documentation appears limited and information systems remain isolated and fragmented. Policy and practice need to be more clearly aligned to these initiatives. This may minimise the administrative burden associated with health documentation in supported accommodation.

Our onward queries: This review identified that supported accommodation settings are an important environment for health information exchange. However, there is little information surrounding how personal electronic health records could impact on the problems identified with information exchange in this review. Would an integrated, e-health record system relieve or exacerbate the identified problems in health information infrastructure in supported accommodation for people with I/DD?

Full reference of article:
Dahm, M., Georgiou, A., Balandin, S., Hill, S., & Hemsley, B. (2017). Health information infrastructure for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) living in supported accommodation: Communication, co-ordination and integration of health information. Health Communication, (early online). doi:10.1080/10410236.2017.1384431

Link to article on publisher page:

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