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A research team led by AnneMarie Walker-Czyz, EdD, RN, recently conducted a study on the quality of care provided to the patients and on clinical workflow before and after EHR adoption. The study revealed that EHR implementation helped healthcare staffs to improve the quality of care they provide to patients and also improved clinical workflows.

The research team focused on many quality standards for the study, including catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI), hospital fall rates, central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI), hospital-acquired pressure ulcer (HAPU) rates, and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). Furthermore, the costs of nursing turnover and satisfaction, as well as nursing care expenses were also inspected during the study.

The study found almost 15 percent reduction in the fall rate, and a satisfying and improved rate in CAUTI and CLABSI as a result of EHR adoption. Though there was a growth in the HAPU and VAP rates in the initial stages, these levels also improved significantly later.

Experts say that even though the amount spent by medical facilities on nursing care remains unaltered after EHR implementation, the rise in nursing staff turnover cannot be denied. The study, however, claims that this might be due to the sophistication of EHR or due to the IT competency.

Nevertheless, the final report drafted by the research team suggests that EHR has enormous positive effects on the quality of care. The report also consists of different measures, which a medical facility should implement if they have to incorporate EHR system in the most productive manner.

“To provide excellent patient care and maintain control over their work environment during the implementation of an EHR, a combination of changes must occur, including development of evidenced-based education with standards of care, monitoring of practice standards, redesign of nursing units for efficiency, and a modification of certain nursing activities,” the research team clarified.

“This study reinforces the power of leadership through innovation adoption. Successful EHR implementation requires nurse executives to include bedside nurses in the decision-making process, have effective communications with the ability to trial new practices, and prepare for continuous staffing adjustments,” the report added.

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The above statement highlights the importance of nurse leadership, which is essential for the success of EHR programs.

The report further says, “A recommendation for practice would be to increase staffing during the implementation period and throughout the adoption phases. This tactic may mitigate any increased risk of HACs during the implementation phase, as well as reduce nurse turnover.”

Many other researchers also support the statements mentioned in the report by Walker-Czyz and colleagues. EHR implementation in several hospitals was studied by different teams and all of the reports claim that the disruptions faced after EHR implementation were minute, whereas the advantages in health care and nursing were enormous.

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