It appears that the implementation and use of a bedside electronic medical record in nursing homes can be a strategy to improve quality of care. Staff like using the bedside electronic medical record and believe it is beneficial. Information gleaned from this qualitative evaluation of four nursing homes that implemented complete electronic medical records and participated in a larger evaluation of the use of an electronic medical record will be useful to other nursing homes as they consider implementing bedside computing technology. Nursing home owners and administrators must be prepared to undertake a major change requiring many months of planning to successfully implement. Direct care staff will need support as they learn to use the equipment, especially for thefirst 6 to 12 months after implementation. There should be a careful plan for continuing education opportunities so that staff learn to properly use the software and can benefit from the technology. After 12 to 24 months, almost no one wants to return to the era of paper charting.
Author Affiliations: Sinclair School of Nursing and Family and Community Medicine, School of Medicine and University of Missouri (Dr Rantz); Sinclair School of Nursing (Drs Alexander, Flesner, and Vogelsmeier); Department of Social Work (Dr Galambos); and Health Managementand Informatics, School of Medicine (Dr Hicks), Columbia, MO; College of Nursing, University of Iowa (Dr Scott-Cawiezell); College of Nursing, University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire (Dr Zwygart-Stauffacher); RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC (Dr Greenwald).
Evaluation activities were supported by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for work completed for the project funded in response to RFP-CMS-03-001/DB.
Opinions are those of the authors and do not necessarily representCMS.
Corresponding author: Marilyn J. Rantz, PhD, RN, FAAN, S406 Sinclair School of Nursing, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211 (firstname.lastname@example.org).