CHIME: Hospital uses small size to its advantage for EHR implementation

Contrary to popular belief, smaller hospitals aren't always at a disadvantage when it comes to implementing an electronic health record system, according to a case study released Nov. 29 by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives.

Officials at Henry County Health Center, a 25-bed critical access hospital in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, knew that they had to transition to EHRs because of the Meaningful Use program. However, they found that being smaller made the transition easier. The hospital has a small, close-knit workforce, and included both clinical and business/administrative representatives in the EHR decision-making process.  

"One of the advantages of being this size of hospital, and having a small medical staff, is you get to know them as individuals," said Robb Gardner, the hospital's Chief Executive Officer. "They know your values and work ethic, and they're willing to work with you. In a larger facility, you may not get the opportunity to know someone personally. Here, we have the opportunity to have a more compassionate approach."

Two of the physicians on the medical staff also championed the move to EHRs, which also helped.

Still, Henry County seems to be an exception to the rule. A report released in July by the Government Accountability Office has shown that many small and rural hospitals still rely on paper records, and that while they need more help in adopting EHRs, they typically don't quality for additional assistance.

To learn more:
- here's the CHIME case study