IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORD: THE TEAM APPROACH

Author: Elizabeth Souther, PhD

Primary Advisor:

Committee Members:

Masters thesis, The University of Texas Health Science Center School of Allied Health Sciences at Houston

 
Economic, regulatory and technological forces are changing the healthcare system in the United States. An important trend driving the adoption of the electronic medical record (EMR) is the well-educated, aging consumer who is demanding the most technologically advanced healthcare in a healthcare environment geared toward rationing.  Healthcare expenditures in the US are in excess of one trillion dollars accounting for 14% of the GDP, this reflects a yearly rise in healthcare costs.  Financial concerns coupled with regulatory guidelines determine the quantity and quality of deliverable healthcare to the consumer.  Fierce competition among healthcare organizations forces economic and regulatory pressures to trickle-down within the organization.  This process has a profound impact at the health provider level.

Pressures to cut costs, streamline operations, meet higher regulatory and accreditation requirements impact the provider-patient relationship.  Providers have been asked to alter practices while facing increasing threats of litigation and denial of reimbursement.  These forces make it imperative that the provider work harder and smarter.  The single most effective method to work more effectively and efficiently is the EMR.  As each enterprise approaches implementing the electronic medical record (EMR) process issue surface that, if handled correctly can make the EMR implementation less chaotic and ensure satisfied end-users. 

There are a number of key functions that must occur for the implementation process to be effective.  The team approach is the one common methodology that surfaces in the literature on EMR implementations.  Various enterprises can have from 1 to many teams that attempt the implementation, but the global vision of the key players dominates the entire process and is the supportive framework for other teams to follow.