Task analysis of information technology-mediated medication management in outpatient care

F. Van Stiphout*, J. E F Zwart-Van Rijkom, L. A. Maggio, J. E C M Aarts, D. W. Bates, T. Van Gelder, P. A F Jansen, J. M C Schraagen, A. C G Egberts, E. W M T Ter Braak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aims Educating physicians in the procedural as well as cognitive skills of information technology (IT)-mediated medication management could be one of the missing links for the improvement of patient safety. We aimed to compose a framework of tasks that need to be addressed to optimize medication management in outpatient care. Methods Formal task analysis: decomposition of a complex task into a set of subtasks. First, we obtained a general description of the medication management process from exploratory interviews. Secondly, we interviewed experts in-depth to further define tasks and subtasks. Setting: Outpatient care in different fields of medicine in six teaching and academic medical centres in the Netherlands and the United States. Participants: 20 experts. Tasks were divided up into procedural, cognitive and macrocognitive tasks and categorized into the three components of dynamic decision making. Results The medication management process consists of three components: (i) reviewing the medication situation; (ii) composing a treatment plan; and (iii) accomplishing and communicating a treatment and surveillance plan. Subtasks include multiple cognitive tasks such as composing a list of current medications and evaluating the reliability of sources, and procedural tasks such as documenting current medication. The identified macrocognitive tasks were: planning, integration of IT in workflow, managing uncertainties and responsibilities, and problem detection. Conclusions All identified procedural, cognitive and macrocognitive skills should be included when designing education for IT-mediated medication management. The resulting framework supports the design of educational interventions to improve IT-mediated medication management in outpatient care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-424
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2015


  • education
  • human factors
  • IT
  • medication management
  • task analysis


Dive into the research topics of 'Task analysis of information technology-mediated medication management in outpatient care'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this