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Using simulation to model the implementation of electronic health records
Date:6/7/2011

CINCINNATIA researcher in the University of Cincinnati (UC) Department of Emergency Medicine has received a two-year, $150,000 fellowship award from the Emergency Medicine Foundation to study the implementation of electronic health records in a suburban emergency department (ED).

The award will support the work of Michael Ward, MD, an assistant professor at the College of Medicine. Ward has spent the past year focusing on simulation modeling in operations research, working with Sean Collins, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine, Craig Froehle, PhD, associate professor of operations management at the UC College of Business, and Christopher Lindsell, PhD, vice chair of research in emergency medicine

Ward's latest research focuses on evaluating the operational disruption to an emergency department undergoing electronic health record (EHR) implementation.

"The claim is that these systems make everything better, faster and more efficient," he says, "yet many centers have to add staff and increase workloads during the weeks and months following their EHR implementation."

The study has two aims: first, to quantify the operational disruption of EHRs and second, to use simulation modeling to evaluate how to maximize efficiency during implementation.

Ward says this type of work wouldn't be possible without simulation modelinga research method that enables him to use existing data to predict how one or several changes can affect a complex system like an emergency department.

"In a regular clinical trial, you take one tiny little piece and change thatpatients get drug A or drug B," he says. "But when it comes to any sort of large-scale operation, there are so many factors involved that it's tough to say that one variable really made a difference.

"For example, we see 80 to 90,000 patients in the UC Health University Hospital emergency department per year. But the number of patients in the departmen
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Contact: Katy Cosse
kathryn.cosse@uc.edu
513-558-0207
University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Source:Eurekalert

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