Ambulatory Electronic Medical Record and Shared Access (Illinois)


This project aimed to implement an ambulatory electronic medical record (EMR) across multiple and varied health care settings in a medically underserved region of east central Illinois. Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center (SBLHC), a not-for-profit community health care corporation, served as the fiscal agent and lead organization for a collaborative partnership to deploy an ambulatory EMR. The goal of this implementation was to improve patient safety and assess provider and patient attitudes toward health information technology (IT) by: 1) providing shared access to patient records across hospital services, home health, hospice, physician practices, and non-hospital provider settings; and 2) integrating electronic tools for prescription orders and management of medications. Project partners included two private practice organizations and the Health Services Division of Eastern Illinois University, a regional, residential university. The purpose of this project was to offer providers and patients a seamless coordination of care across a continuum of services by sharing pertinent patient information between the emergency department, home health and hospice, family and internal medicine practitioners, and specialists throughout the rural community.

The ambulatory EMR, implemented at approximately one-third of the SBLHC practices by the end of 2009, provides a means to share a longitudinal medical record that contains, at a minimum, a patient problem list, medication list, allergies, radiology images and data, laboratory data, and a patient care plan. The long-term goals of the partnership are to:

  1. Successfully deploy an ambulatory EMR with shared access to patient records across hospital services, home health, hospice, and employed and independent physician practice settings.
  2. Use computerized provider order entry and clinical decision support systems to reduce medication errors and increase patient safety.
  3. Provide a method to utilize the EMR for data collection, analysis, and reporting of the number and types of medication errors and adverse events that occur.

The principal findings for the ambulatory EMR implementation show that both the emergency department and inpatient caregivers benefited from having access to the patients' ambulatory medication lists electronically. Overall, physicians, mid-level providers, and nursing staff in the SBLHC clinics believed that the system did not increase their productivity up front; however, the users will most likely appreciate efficiencies once the charts are more established. The users stated that they would prefer the system's shortcomings be enhanced rather than revert to their old processes.

Grant Number: 
UC1 HS016128
Funding Mechanism: 
Limited Competition for AHRQ Transforming Healthcare Quality Through Information Technology - Implementation Grants
AHRQ Funded Amount: 
Principal Investigator: 
DeLuca, Michael
Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center
Project Dates: 
September 30, 2005 to September 29, 2009
Project Status: 

Project Categories

Type of Health Information Technology: 
Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE)
Electronic Medical Record (EMR)/Electronic Health Record (EHR)
Health Information Exchange (HIE)/Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO)
Care Setting: 
Aspect of Care: 
Medication Management
Protected Health Information Data Sharing
Target Population: 
Medically Underserved
Last Modified: August 2015

News and Publications

DeLuca M. Ambulatory Electronic Medical Record and Shared Access - Final Report. (Prepared by Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center under Grant No. UC1 HS016128). Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2009. (PDF, 305.67 KB)
The findings and conclusions in this document are those of the author(s), who are responsible for its content, and do not necessarily represent the views of AHRQ. No statement in this report should be construed as an official position of AHRQ or of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Project Activities