Electronic Medical Records: Effectively Managing Change

As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), all healthcare providers were required to adopt and show meaningful use of an electronic medical health record (EMR). To avoid a penalty, integration had to occur before January 1, 2014. Many hospitals and older physicians struggled with this. This digital change was new to not only physicians but also the business leaders that ran those businesses.

Ben Miller, SumCity Hospital’s Emergency Room Medical Director and Founding Partner in ER Docs of Florida (ERDF), slowly gathered his things and left the conference room. The meeting was a long and intense one filled with questions. The healthcare system that contracts Miller’s physician group was changing its electronic medical record system (EMR). Unfortunately, the third party EMR company would no longer support the current physician documentation software and a change was inevitable.
As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), all healthcare providers were required to adopt and show meaningful use of an EMR. To avoid a penalty, integration had to occur before January 1, 2014. Many hospitals and older physicians struggled with this. This digital change was new to not only physicians but also business leaders.

Miller reflected on the IT changes that had occurred over the past decade as he sat in traffic on his drive home. In 2010, Miller’s site was also picked to be the first Florida site to convert to an EMR within its Healthcare system. Prior, all processes were paper-based. His team embraced the challenge and became the first site in the company’s history to achieve the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) level 7 accreditation and the second hospital in the state of Florida to do so.
Triumph was achieved by overcoming a multitude of hurdles and by establishing a corporate environment conducive to problem-solving. Some of Miller’s physicians were on the verge of quitting during the prior integration, unable to adapt. To prevent physicians from leaving, Miller opted to employ medical scribes for all his physicians to document all interactions with all patients. These scribes allowed his physicians to spend more time at the bedside and less time in front of the computer. This benefit was used by all physicians in the Florida market and came at an annual cost of over 1.5 million dollars. Miller knew this was not a sustainable number. Also, the new software was not designed to be used with medical scribes.

As Miller pulled into his driveway, he thought “How can I switch EMR’s, eliminate scribe costs, and keep all my doc’s happy?” Would this transition be easier because the providers were already accustomed to an EMR? Would it be more troublesome and time-consuming to make the switch now?

Authors: Kristine Alderson, Michael Armstrong, Scott Bayus, Dr. Rajneesh Mathur & David Truxton

Link: https://doi.org/10.28945/4512

Alderson, K., Armstrong, M., Bayus, S., Mathur, R., and Truxton, D. (2019). Electronic medical records: Effectively managing change. Muma Case Review 4(11). 1-16. https://doi.org/10.28945/4512


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