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PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e32692. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032692. Epub 2012 Mar 5.

Prehospital electronic patient care report systems: early experiences from emergency medical services agency leaders.

Author information

1
Department of Emergency Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America. alandman@partners.org

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

As the United States embraces electronic health records (EHRs), improved emergency medical services (EMS) information systems are also a priority; however, little is known about the experiences of EMS agencies as they adopt and implement electronic patient care report (e-PCR) systems. We sought to characterize motivations for adoption of e-PCR systems, challenges associated with adoption and implementation, and emerging implementation strategies.

METHODS:

We conducted a qualitative study using semi-structured in-depth interviews with EMS agency leaders. Participants were recruited through a web-based survey of National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP) members, a didactic session at the 2010 NAEMSP Annual Meeting, and snowball sampling. Interviews lasted approximately 30 minutes, were recorded and professionally transcribed. Analysis was conducted by a five-person team, employing the constant comparative method to identify recurrent themes.

RESULTS:

Twenty-three interviewees represented 20 EMS agencies from the United States and Canada; 14 EMS agencies were currently using e-PCR systems. The primary reason for adoption was the potential for e-PCR systems to support quality assurance efforts. Challenges to e-PCR system adoption included those common to any health information technology project, as well as challenges unique to the prehospital setting, including: fear of increased ambulance run times leading to decreased ambulance availability, difficulty integrating with existing hospital information systems, and unfunded mandates requiring adoption of e-PCR systems. Three recurring strategies emerged to improve e-PCR system adoption and implementation: 1) identify creative funding sources; 2) leverage regional health information organizations; and 3) build internal information technology capacity.

CONCLUSION:

EMS agencies are highly motivated to adopt e-PCR systems to support quality assurance efforts; however, adoption and implementation of e-PCR systems has been challenging for many. Emerging strategies from EMS agencies and others that have successfully implemented EHRs may be useful in expanding e-PCR system use and facilitating this transition for other EMS agencies.

PMID:
22403698
PMCID:
PMC3293855
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0032692
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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