Louisiana Rural Health Information Technology Partnership (Louisiana)

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Summary:

The goal of this project was to standardize in electronic format the hospital's emergency department discharge/transfer process so that: 1) access to clinical information would be improved at the time of the emergency department encounter; and 2) overall health cost savings might be achieved by making patient records accessible among all providers and from reduced redundancy in clinical tests. The sample for analysis consisted of a random sample of emergency department personnel surveyed in hospital emergency departments of five critical access hospitals. The survey was given to both doctors and nurses to gauge how comfortable they were with the new EMR system. The analysis revealed that, although there is no significant preference for paper charting over electronic charting after four months of EMR implementation, there is a significant preference for electronic charting after one year. The survey also revealed that the proportion of employees that felt an electronic chart was more complete over a paper chart increased significantly from four months to one year post-implementation. As a conclusion, a critical access hospital may initially face resistance to implementing an electronic medical records system in their emergency department, but within a year of implementation, the majority of the emergency department nurses and physicians should come to prefer electronic charting. The emergency department personnel would also be likely to find EMR a more complete patient record than paper charts.

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