Can we measure integration of healthcare from administrative and clinical records?

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Background A major component of integrated care is shared information. Computer-based clinical and administrative systems, particularly in multidisciplinary environments, provide an opportunity to directly measure the degree of integration. Objective The objective of this article is to explore the viability of automated measurement of integration within a multidisciplinary healthcare centre. Method With the assistance of practice staff, researchers explored the structure and content of selected patient records in two practices to understand the viability of automated measurement. Results Extracted patient records can be used to understand integration to the degree that communication is recorded, but at significant expense to the practices and researchers. Automated systems are practical to the degree that clinicians complete all relevant identifying fields. Discussion Computerised clinical systems provide opportunities for exploring integration of care if they include a range of care providers and all relevant fields are always completed. The latter condition will always be difficult to achieve.