Use of Information and Communication Technology in Hospice and Palliative Care

Author: Nobutaka Kikuchi, MD, PhD

Primary Advisor: Noriaki Aoki, MD, PhD, MS

Committee Members: Kim Dunn, MD, PhD

Masters thesis, The University of Texas School of Health Information Sciences at Houston.

 
Information and communication technology (ICT) has the potential to facilitate access to hospice and palliative care services, improve symptom assessment and management processes, and enhance interdisciplinary team care approach in hospice and palliative care settings. However, there is limited evidence on the use and implementation of ICT in various domains related to palliative care patients, palliative care experts, organizations, and healthcare systems. It is important to identify and evaluate the use of ICT in hospice and palliative care because it can influence the caregiving process, outcomes, and cost. For these reasons, we conducted a systematic review to examine the use of ICT in hospice and palliative care settings. We identified and reviewed 43 articles published from 1995 to 2006 to investigate the studies addressing the application of ICT. The selected articles were classified into 3 groups: (1) use of telemedicine, (2) application of computerized health records (including database), and (3) application of the Internet in hospice and palliative care settings. However, there is inadequate information on the methodology and outcomes of ICT application in hospice and palliative care settings. The literature studied was mainly descriptive, did not explore the various applications of ICT in considerable detail, and lacked appropriate evaluation. Although the use of ICT offers numerous opportunities for hospice and palliative care services, further research is required to elucidate the effectiveness of ICT application in this field.