Telfer School of Management
University of Ottawa
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Research Links - January 2008 - Directly to the Point of Care
Professor Wojtek Michalowski
New University Research Chair Works on Integrating all Aspects of Clinical Data and Information to Support Emergency Physicians’ Decision Making.
On November 2, the University of Ottawa appointed Dr. Wojtek Michalowski as University Research Chair in Health Informatics and Decision Support. The Telfer School professor believes this designation vividly expresses the university’s staunch support for his field.
“Being named a University Research Chair doesn’t simply show that the university values my research—although that’s important,” he says. “It validates the research and demonstrates that this work makes a significant contribution to the strength and strategic direction of the School.”
An internationally recognized expert in the field of decision support, Dr. Michalowski heads the Telfer School’s Mobile Emergency Triage (MET) Research Program. Combining the knowledge and talents of ten researchers, computer engineers and practicing physicians, the three-year program is developing a portable information system that can support emergency physicians to manage paediatric asthma exacerbations. According to Dr. Michalowski, the work of the MET Research Program will help translate technological innovations in health sciences into higher-quality medical care for Canadians.
“Innovations such as electronic health records are only as good as the methods developed to retrieve and use this information,” he says. “Our research is centred on finding out how we can put all aspects of valuable clinical information to use in medical decision making.”
Known as Anytime, Anywhere Decision Support for Emergency-Department Triage—or A3Support—Dr. Michalowski’s system will help physicians to access a wealth of vital health-care information via any IT platform—from traditional desktop computers to the latest handheld wireless devices such as the iPod touch. In addition to working on designing such a system, the MET Research Program is looking into such sources of information as systematic reviews and clinical practice guidelines that could be incorporated into this new decision-support tool.
“Right now, we’re trying to model clinical-practice guidelines using novel techniques from Artificial Intelligence,” he says. “We believe that making a guideline more easily accessible and integrated with a hospital workflow will help emergency physicians to take action quickly and confidently.”
The researchers are collaborating with physicians from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and testing of the solutions developed by MET Research Group will take place in the Emergency Department of this hospital, probably starting in September 2008.
“I believe strongly in this work,” he says. “By bringing all the information emergency physicians need directly to the point of care, our research has the potential to improve the quality of medical care and health outcomes.”
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