ICU nurses show increasing acceptance of electronic health records

Research Activities, March 2012, No. 379

Acceptance of electronic health record (EHR) technology is particularly important in intensive care units (ICUs) where physicians and nurses experience high workload, patient care is critical, complex decisions need to be made quickly, and interventions must be implemented in a timely manner. Surveys conducted after EHR implementation in four ICUs at a regional medical center revealed that ICU nurses were more accepting of the EHR at 1 year than at 3 months after implementation.

The EHR system includes various functionalities such as computerized provider order entry (CPOE), which is used to review and sign off on entered orders; an electronic medication administration record (eMAR), which is used to review and document medication administration, timing, and comments about the administration; and nursing documentation flow sheets in which nurses record vital signs, patient symptoms, and patient care performed. Nurses viewed both the CPOE and eMAR functions as easier to use 12 months after implementation. Their perceptions of ease of use of the nursing documentation flow sheets did not change between 3 and 12 months of use, perhaps because the nurses had been using this function for around 2 years before the study began.

Even after 1 year of EHR use, the characteristics of EHR technology (usability and usefulness) have a significant impact on acceptance and use of the technology by ICU nurses. Therefore, it is important for health care organizations to continue their efforts to optimize the design and use of EHR after the technology is implemented, conclude the researchers. This study was supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS15274).

See "ICU nurses' acceptance of electronic health records," by Pascale Carayon, Ph.D., Randi Cartmil, M.S., Mary Ann Blosky, M.S., and others in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association 8, pp. 812-819, 2011.

Page last reviewed March 2012
Internet Citation: ICU nurses show increasing acceptance of electronic health records: Research Activities, March 2012, No. 379. March 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.