Electronic Medical Record in the ED: A Cross-Sectional Survey of Resuscitation Documentation Practices and Perceptions Among Emergency Department Clinicians

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The aims of this study were to describe current practices in nursing documentation of trauma and medical resuscitations across emergency departments (EDs) and explore physicians' and nurses' perceptions of electronic medical record (EMR) use for nursing documentation of resuscitations.


An anonymous Web-based survey was developed and distributed to a convenience sample of ED physicians and nurses in the United States.


Of 438 respondents, 154 were nurses; 97.2% of respondents reported that their EDs use EMR generally. Of those, 51.2% use EMR to document resuscitations. When describing documentation processes, 19% (95% confidence interval [CI], 15%–23%) reported direct documentation on EMR, 18% (95% CI, 14%–21%) reported documenting on paper before transferring to EMR, and 22% (95% CI, 18%–26%) reported simultaneously documenting on EMR and paper. Thirty-seven percent of respondents reported that the “documentor” frequently performs other tasks during resuscitations. Few nurses (39.6%) and physicians (26.4%) perceived EMR as more efficient than paper. Nurses (66.2%) and physicians (51.8%) perceived paper as more complete than EMR. Few nurses (31.6%) and physicians (25.6%) agreed that paper would facilitate continuity of care better than EMR. No associations between nurses' perceptions of EMR, professional experience, or technology use were found.


Although EMR adoption was common among respondents, only half reported using EMR to document resuscitations. Even fewer reported documenting directly on EMR, whereas a significant proportion reported processes that may be inefficient, redundant, or prone to errors. Respondents endorsed mostly negative perceptions of EMR. Our findings suggest that there may be factors inherent to resuscitations and the existing EMR interfaces that render documenting resuscitations on EMR uniquely challenging.

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