Electronic medical record system at an opioid agonist treatment programme: study design, pre-implementation results and post-implementation trends

J Eval Clin Pract. 2012 Aug;18(4):739-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2753.2011.01664.x. Epub 2011 Mar 18.


Rationale: Electronic medical record (EMR) systems are commonly included in health care reform discussions. However, their embrace by the health care community has been slow.

Methods: At Addiction Research and Treatment Corporation, an outpatient opioid agonist treatment programme that also provides primary medical care, HIV medical care and case management, substance abuse counselling and vocational services, we studied the implementation of an EMR in the domains of quality, productivity, satisfaction, risk management and financial performance utilizing a prospective pre- and post-implementation study design.

Results: This report details the research approach, pre-implementation findings for all five domains, analysis of the pre-implementation findings and some preliminary post-implementation results in the domains of quality and risk management. For quality, there was a highly statistically significant improvement in timely performance of annual medical assessments (P < 0.001) and annual multidiscipline assessments (P < 0.0001). For risk management, the number of events was not sufficient to perform valid statistical analysis.

Conclusions: The preliminary findings in the domain of quality are very promising. Should the findings in the other domains prove to be positive, then the impetus to implement EMR in similar health care facilities will be advanced.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Diffusion of Innovation*
  • Electronic Health Records / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Opioid-Related Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Organizations, Nonprofit
  • Program Development
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care
  • Research Design*
  • Risk Management
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Centers*