The Internet as a Quality Tool in Health Care

363

Many hospital workers are now using the Internet as part of their daily work. Why? It can often save them time or provide better quality than the available alternatives. But although many staff know this, many don’t and although many know it, they don’t necessarily act on their knowledge. An innovative research project now running at six Ontario hospitals seeks to provide data to support both personal and institutional decisions about work related Internet use. The Internet as a Quality Tool in Health Care (2001) is a study of Internet transactions by hospital staff transactions that was first piloted by the Organizational Development and Education department of The Riverdale Hospital in 2000, when it won the Microsoft Canada “Best Practice” award at the Ontario Hospital Association convention. An expanded version of the study, sponsored by Sunnybrook and Women’s Health Sciences Centre, will conclude in the spring of 2002. It tracks data about hospital staff satisfaction with Internet transactions. In participating hospitals, partnering departments range from Quality Improvement and Organizational Development to Nursing Informatics and Library Services.

Says Tim Burns, Project Leader, “It is our hypothesis, based on findings from the 2000 pilot, that more hospital staff could benefit from Internet use to optimize the quality of the work they do.” The study will provide Ontario hospitals with data to support Internet training, access and technological infrastructure. A full report about findings is scheduled for release in the fall of 2002 to coincide with the 2002 OHA convention. If you are interested in replicating the study, to find out about staff Internet outcomes at your own hospital, and/or would like to know more about the study contact Tim Burns at Sunnybrook and Women’s: tim.burns@swchsc.on.ca.