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Extensible Stylesheet Language Formatting Objects (XSL-FO): a Tool to Transform Patient Data into Attractive Clinical Reports.
Clinicians at Wishard Hospital in Indianapolis print and carry clinical reports called "Pocket Rounds". This paper describes a new process we developed to improve these clinical reports. The heart of our new process is a World Wide Web Consortium standard: Extensible Stylesheet Language Formatting Objects (XSL-FO). Using XSL-FO stylesheets we generated Portable Document Format (PDF) and PostScript reports with complex formatting: columns, tables, borders, shading, indents, dividing lines. We observed patterns of clinical report printing during a eight month study period on three Medicine wards. Usage statistics indicated that clinicians accepted the new system enthusiastically: 78% of 26,418 reports were printed using the new system. We surveyed 67 clinical users. Respondents gave the new reports a rating of 4.2 (on a 5 point scale); they gave the old reports a rating of 3.4. The primary complaint was that it took longer to print the new reports. We believe that XSL-FO is a promising way to transform text data into functional and attractive clinical reports: relatively easy to implement and modify.