Customizing An Electronic Medical Record In One Rural Health Area: The Impact On Patient Appointments
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Purpose: To analyze the effect and use of electronic medical record systems on appointment compliance in one small rural health clinic.
Design: Quantitative study. Appointment compliance was analyzed using population data pre-implementation of an electronic medical record and post implementation of an electronic medical record.
Key Words: electronic medical record, patient portal, rural health clinic, appointment compliance, evidence-based practice, patient empowerment, appointment scheduling
Methods: The data was collected in a 6 month period in 2015 from data recorded in paper scheduling books and electronic medical records. The population data gathered was analyzed using the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20.0 software to determine the percentage of patients who missed appointments pre-implementation and post implementation of the electronic medical record.
Findings: Results indicate an 8% no-show rate while using paper documentation and a 12% no-show rate after implementation of the electronic medical record. These findings indicate that the implementation of an electronic medical records system using alerts for notification of appointments was not conducive to improvement in the no-show rate. Multiple factors could indicate the cause of the increase in percentages of no-show after implementation such as time of year, skill level of user, adaptation to new method of notification, and short time frame from implementation.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that the project could be duplicated to determine if a larger study with a longer time frame would make a difference in the outcome. Currently the findings indicate that in one small rural health clinic, implementation of an electronic medical record system did not improve patient appointment compliance.
Clinical Relevance: The use of an electronic medical record will enhance the clinical care of patients by ensuring formats which provide easier access to medical data. The clinical relevance of an electronic medical record becomes apparent in the ease of storage of relevant patient documents and information (Davis & Haines, 2015).
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