Project: Evaluation of an Electronic Physician Discharge Report and Result Writing System
Project team: Elske Ammenwerth (Leader), Frieda Kaiser
Time span: 2001 - 2002
Cooperation partner: TILAK, Department for Informationsmanagement (Dr. Immanuel Wilhelmy)
University Medical Center for Medical Psychology and Psychotherapy (Stefan Höfer)

Within the scope of the implementation of a clinical information system at the Innsbruck University Medical Center, the electronic physician discharge report and result writing system is also being implemented since 2000. There are currently only anecdotal opinions available about user satisfaction.


The collection of subjective positive and negative effects of the process of the electronic physician discharge report and result writing.


A representative sample of approximately 100 users was questioned using a validated questionnaire within the context of a cross-sectional study. Data collection occurred in February 2002.


First of all, the results show a high acceptance of the physician discharge report and result writing. The expected advantages especially in the area of electornic availability of reports and results were also seen by a dominant part of the users. However, problems arrise when noting details. The transfer of writing and correcting activities to physicians is seen by many physicians as not being part of their job description. They also criticized this as being time consuming. The discharge letter writing also has negative effects on personal communication exchange between the different occupational groups. The system itself was described as too slow and non-reliable by a few of the questioned individuals. It was also deemed as functionally incomplete by those in the writing area. Altogether however, the total satisfaction is still 3.45 (of 5 possible points) throughout all occupational groups and wards. Result: The project shows, on hand of the example of electronic physician discharge report and result writing, how information technology can have unexpected negative effects, e.g. on determiniation of roles or communication structures. These effects need to be taken into account during planning and implementation. Further user acceptance studies are currently being planned.

Selected publications:

Ammenwerth E, Kaiser F. Evaluation der Benutzerzufriedenheit mit der rechnergestützten Arztbrief- und Befundschreiben am Landeskrankenhaus - Universitätskliniken Innsbruck. UMIT-Schriftenreihe Nr. 1 - 2002. Private Universität für Med. Informatik und Technik Tirol, Innsbruck.

Ammenwerth E, Kaiser F, Wilhelmy I, Höfer S. Evaluation of user acceptance of information systems in health care - the value of questionnaires. In: Baud R, Fieschi M, Le Beux P, Ruch P (eds): The New Navigators: from Professionals to Patients. Proceedings of Medical Informatics Europe (MIE 2003), 4 - 7 May 2003, St. Malo, France. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, Volume 95. Amsterdam, Berlin, Oxford: IOS Press. ISBN 1 58603 347 6. Pages 643-648.

(A complete list of all publications can be found on our Publications page.)