A Pharmacy Blueprint for Electronic Medical Record Implementation Success

Hosp Pharm. 2015 Jun;50(6):484-95. doi: 10.1310/hpj5006-484.


Objective: Implementation of an integrated, electronic medical record (EMR) has been promoted as a means of improving patient safety and quality. While there are a few reports of such processes that incorporate computerized prescriber order entry, pharmacy verification, an electronic medication administration record (eMAR), point-of-care barcode scanning, and clinical decision support, there are no published reports on how a pharmacy department can best participate in implementing such a process across a multihospital health care system.

Method: This article relates the experience of the design, build, deployment, and maintenance of an integrated EMR solution from the pharmacy perspective. It describes a 9-month planning and build phase and the subsequent rollout at 8 hospitals over the following 13 months.

Results: Key components to success are identified, as well as a set of guiding principles that proved invaluable in decision making and dispute resolution. Labor/personnel requirements for the various stages of the process are discussed, as are issues involving medication workflow analysis, drug database considerations, the development of clinical order sets, and incorporation of bar-code scanning of medications. Recommended implementation and maintenance strategies are presented, and the impact of EMR implementation on the pharmacy practice model and revenue analysis are examined.

Conclusion: Adherence to the principles and practices outlined in this article can assist pharmacy administrators and clinicians during all medication-related phases of the development, implementation, and maintenance of an EMR solution. Furthermore, review and incorporation of some or all of practices presented may help ease the process and ensure its success.

Keywords: eMAR; electronic medical record; health care system; pharmacy.