Readiness for Change
With an ever-increasing population and the rising cost of medical care, the healthcare industry is in need of innovated ways to provide quality health care while containing cost. Technological advances offer one-such solution to cost containment, though, adoption of Information Technology (IT) in the health care industry remains low despite overwhelming evidence that the use of electronic medical records (EMR) has improved staff efficiency, increased preventative care measures, and decreased medical errors thus lowering healthcare cost (Childs, 2009). Even in an environment that is rich with evidence-based innovations, diffusion of successful electronic medical records remains a problem in the healthcare industry.
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At Genesis HealthCare System (GHS) the EMR was implemented in waves beginning in 2010, with nursing as part of the first wave. The change that affected nursing was transitioning from paper to electronic documentation as well as barcode scanning medications for administration. With wave one, physicians would begin computerized physician order entry. This change had a major impact on nursing and physicians because all workflows were affected by this implementation. Anything that was previously completed on paper would now be completed on the computer. The nursing and medical staff was made aware of the upcoming change. After the Act was signed into law, the leadership team explained what the law meant to the organization and how it would be affected. The leadership team began looking into EMRs. After the options were narrowed to three, nursing and medical staff was involved to assist with the final decision. To allow for sound decisions, the leadership team provided site visits to other organizations with EMRs, each company presented their product with many opportunities for all attending to ask questions, and focus groups of staff nurses were developed to collect ideas, thoughts, and needs of an EMR. The organization gave ample opportunity to become involved with the change although many were hesitate due to resistance.
Reactions to the change were mixed. Some staff members actively participated in the focus groups to give feedback about the types of