Impact of a Decision Support System on Obstetricians in the Pregnancy Nutrition Guidance
Abstract: Background: Pregnancy Nutrition (PN) guidance is an issue of great concern worldwide because of its direct relevance to the maternal healthcare and the healthy prenatal development (Li et al., 2004, p. 11). Providing an effective guidance on PN is an onerous and time-consuming task. Extensive experience, knowledge, and continuous and actual calculations are required for the obstetricians. Consequently, the PN guidance is often faced with difficulties and hurdles. It is, however, dramatically changed with the emergence of a Decision Support System (DSS) for PN guidance based on the computer information management technique. This DSS has been applied for the clinic guidance of PN in obstetrics departments or hospitals in China. Its impacts on obstetricians are investigated in this thesis. Objectives: This thesis investigates the consequences and intrinsic correlations of relevant factors during the application of the DSS, so that its effects on obstetricians can be clearly identified and the usefulness of this system for pregnancy nutrition guidance can be effectively established. It also lays a foundation for an effective communication between system developers and the end users of this system. At the meantime, this work proposes the concepts and methods that allow proper utility of such an information management system. Methods: A number of research methods have been applied for data acquisitions and analyses, including direct observations of the obstetrics department in the hospital in study, conversational interviews with the participating obstetricians, and distance communications. These approaches enable us to prepare the resources to construct the model based on these case studies. As a parallel approach, quantitative methods based on questionnaires have been conducted which reach out a large number of obstetricians in different locations. This allows a statistical analysis that permits the impact analysis and correlation of the intrinsic factors, so that the conclusions of this study can be consolidated. Results: Positive impacts will be measured by five factors including convenience, acceptability, generality, concreteness, and effectiveness, while negative impacts by three factors including verbosity, rigidity, and expensiveness. Conclusions: The DSS has successfully enhanced the application of correct PN guidance. Both positive and negative impacts have been generated on obstetricians by the DSS. These impacts are mainly related to the seniority of obstetricians and their familiarity with the PN guidance and the DSS. The development, utilization, and operation management of the DSS in PN guidance has generated impacts and functions. This study might provide resources and foundation of the systematic management of the DSS together with its development. The DSS and the related Chief Information Officers and Specialists will benefit from this study and therefore provide improved support and assistance for the end users to complete information system management successfully.
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