Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) are “a system that integrates electronically originated and maintained patient-level clinical information, derived from multiple sources, into one point of access” (Kazley, 2007, p. 375). I would like to propose an organizational change to implement this documentation at the Home Health Agency where I am employed. This paper will address the need for EMR, barriers to change, factors that might influence implementation of an EMR, organizational readiness for the change, the theoretical model that relates to implanting EMRs, resources available to support the change, and methods used to monitor implementation of the EMR.
THE NEED FOR ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORDS
There is a great need to implement EMRs in the Home Health Agency where I am employed. The rationale for this change is related to improving patient safety, efficiency of the Agency, financial reimbursement, effective communication, and patient outcomes. Paper documentation is no longer efficient or readily accessible to all Clinicians. An EMR will standardize medical terms, decrease documentation errors, improve coordination of patient care and allow all employees in the Agency to access the same database of patient information, therefore enhancing continuity of care between disciplines (Kunz, 2010).
According to Tillett (2012), President Obama hopes to computerize the nation’s health records in five years, saving the nation billions of dollars in health care costs. In an effort to support this transition, the government has allocated $20 billion to enable healthcare institutions to develop and implement health information systems. There is currently no mandate for the use of EMRs, but there are financial incentives for compliance to encourage health care organizations to implement it by 2015. My Agency is making the transition for these reasons.
BARRIERS TO CHANGE
According to Kunz (2010), there may be several potential barriers to embracing an EMR. An Agency has to consider that the selection and implementation of the electronic system is expensive. Purchasing the software and the documentation device, developing the system to meet the Agency’s needs, and training the employees to use the system can be very costly. Also, some employees may resist accepting and adapting to the new system because they are satisfied with the status quo. Employees will better support changes when the rationale for the change is given, the final outcome is envisioned, and the employees are encouraged to participate in the change development (Noah, 2011).
FACTORS OF INFLUENCE
Factors that might influence this proposed change include employee commitment, quality of the leadership, and a clear vision.The level of employee commitment to the organization will influence the success of the change effort. When employees are engaged and motivated, their commitment to the success of change efforts increases according to Noah (2011). The quality of the leaders and their skill level of leading change will influence how well the implementation of an EMR occurs. According to Kunz (2010), a clear vision will help align people toward a common goal, which will increase success for the change. Employees need to realize that implementing an EMR will improve the documentation process, making it more efficient and more effective. ORGANIZATIONAL READINESS
Factors that can influence organizational readiness for an EMR include effective leadership, committed individuals and effective communication. Noah points out that “effective leadership and sound change management processes are vital ingredients in making the shift from paper to electronic health records” (2011). Without this in place, EMR implementation is likely to fail. Leadership must consider the issues faced by the individual users. Critical ownership among the individual employees is crucial in the early implementation phase. Any employee that...