Impact of an electronic medical record system on community-based primary care practices

Journal Name: 
J Am Board Fam Pract
BACKGROUND: Although primary care physicians are increasingly interested in adopting electronic medical record (EMR) systems, few use such systems in practice. This study explores the organizational impact of an EMR system on community-based practices that have overcome the initial barriers and are experienced EMR users. METHODS: Five primary care practices that are members of a national research network participated in this study. Using qualitative methods, including semistructured interviews and observations, we assessed the impact of an EMR system on the work lives of various user groups. RESULTS: Physicians and staff indicated that the EMR system has changed not only how they manage patient records but also how they communicate with each other, provide patient care services, and perform job responsibilities. The EMR is also perceived by its users to have an impact on practice costs. Although in most practices physicians and staff were unaware of actual expenses and cost savings associated with the EMR, those in practices that have eliminated duplicate paper-based systems believe they have realized cost savings. CONCLUSIONS: Several important themes emerged. The organizational context in which the system is implemented is important. Effective leadership, the presence of a system champion, availability of technical training and support, and adequate resources are essential elements to the success of the EMR.
3190, Automatic Data Processing: economics, Community Health Services: economics: organization & administration, cost, Cost Savings, electronic, Health Care Costs, Human, Interviews, Leadership, medical, Medical Records, Methods, Observation, patient, Patient Care, patient record, Physicians, PPRNet, primary care, Primary Health Care: economics, Questionnaires, Record, Records, Research, success, support, Support,Non-U.S.Gov't, system