Integrated patient care
It is helpful to have a goal, even in the knowledge that it can never be reached. Some enthusiasts in the Integrating the Healthare Enterprise (IHE) community, including myself, follow the road towards developing IHE integration profiles to reach the goal of an integrated patient care (IPC), see figure 1, even knowing that it means reaching for the impossible.
The eight components contributing towards IPC shown in figure 1 are not representative of healthcare in general, but may be seen in the context of decision making for patient-specific therapeutic approaches. The healthcare unit which typically plays a major role in the process of therapy decision making is the therapy planning unit or tumour board. Here, ideally, many information sources available about the patient (radiology, pathology, oncology, surgery, etc.) should be considered before subsequent diagnostic or therapeutic steps are being taken.
In a real clinical setting this means that a combination of quantitative and qualitative information about the patient has to be mentally integrated by the physician to create an abstract representation (model) of the patient. This model must be as close as possible to reality to serve as a basis for decision making in medical diagnosis and therapy.
Based on the model created in the physician