Prehospital Electronic Patient Care Report Systems: Early Experiences from Emergency Medical Services Agency Leaders
Lee, Christopher H.
Van Gelder, Carin M.
Curry, Leslie A.
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CitationLandman, Adam B., Christopher H. Lee, Comilla Sasson, Carin M. Van Gelder, and Leslie A. Curry. 2012. Prehospital electronic patient care report systems: Early experiences from emergency medical services agency leaders. PLoS ONE 7(3): e32692.
AbstractBackground: 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.
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