, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 273-279

Benchmarking Electronic Medical Records Initiatives in the US: a Conceptual Model

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Abstract

This article provides a conceptual model for benchmarking the use of clinical information systems within healthcare organizations. Additionally, it addresses the benefits of clinical information systems which include the reduction of errors, improvement in clinical decision-making and real time access to patient information. The literature suggests that clinical information systems provide financial benefits due to cost-savings from improved efficiency and reduction of errors. As a result, healthcare organizations should adopt such clinical information systems to improve quality of care and stay competitive in the marketplace. Our research clearly documents the increased adoption of electronic medical records in U.S. hospitals from 2005 to 2007. This is important because the electronic medical record provides an opportunity for integration of patient information and improvements in efficiency and quality of care across a wide range of patient populations. This was supported by recent federal initiatives such as the establishment of the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONCHIT) to create an interoperable health information infrastructure. Potential barriers to the implementation of health information technology include cost, a lack of financial incentives for providers, and a need for interoperable systems. As a result, future government involvement and leadership may serve to accelerate widespread adoption of interoperable clinical information systems.