Open Access Highly Accessed Correspondence

Sharing clinical information across care settings: the birth of an integrated assessment system

Leonard C Gray1*, Katherine Berg23, Brant E Fries45, Jean-Claude Henrard6, John P Hirdes78, Knight Steel9 and John N Morris10

Author Affiliations

1 The University of Queensland. c/- Academic Unit in Geriatric Medicine, University Department of Medicine, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Australia

2 University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

3 University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada

4 Institute of Gerontology, School of Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA

5 Health Systems Research, Veterans Administration Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

6 Versaille University, Paris-Oust Medical School, Paris, France

7 Department of Health Studies and Gerontology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada

8 Homewood Research Institute, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

9 Hackensack University Medical Center, New Jersey, USA

10 Institute for Aging Research, and Alfred A and Gilda Slifka Chair in Social Gerontological Research, Hebrew Senior Life, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

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BMC Health Services Research 2009, 9:71  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-71

Published: 29 April 2009



Population ageing, the emergence of chronic illness, and the shift away from institutional care challenge conventional approaches to assessment systems which traditionally are problem and setting specific.


From 2002, the interRAI research collaborative undertook development of a suite of assessment tools to support assessment and care planning of persons with chronic illness, frailty, disability, or mental health problems across care settings. The suite constitutes an early example of a "third generation" assessment system.


The rationale and development strategy for the suite is described, together with a description of potential applications. To date, ten instruments comprise the suite, each comprising "core" items shared among the majority of instruments and "optional" items that are specific to particular care settings or situations.


This comprehensive suite offers the opportunity for integrated multi-domain assessment, enabling electronic clinical records, data transfer, ease of interpretation and streamlined training.