1. Bungard, Barb RN, BSN, CCRN

Article Content


Process maps have long been used in the business arenas but not in healthcare until recently. Process maps identify areas of the organization that are strengths, are extremely disconnected, and possibly need to be changed; gaps in the process; and areas that may need further clarification. Transitioning to a new electronic medical record (EMR) requires extensive understanding of current work flows and processes. Preimplementation planning and discussion are essential for the development of an effective system. Most organizations have not invested the necessary resources into mapping out their work flows prior to transitioning. Policies, procedures, and extensive knowledge exist within their staff, but not in a consistent format and easily understood by others who may not work in that specific area. As a result, we replicate existing work flows and challenges and lose the opportunity to improve our flows and strengthen our system.



The EMR is extremely complex, involving a wide variety of disciplines-nursing, physicians, pharmacy, laboratory, radiology, billing and registration, and others. Tools such as the EMR are intended to serve as a mechanism to improve the quality of care provided to the patient served. An effective EMR can help facilitate effective communication and impact patient safety in a positive way through reducing medication errors and providing additional checks and balances in the daily work flow.


Program Plan:

Transitioning to a new EMR requires extensive understanding of current work flows and processes. Gaining an understanding of these processes will enhance the development of your EMR and improve communication, not only among peers but also across disciplines. Be proactive, do your homework upfront by examining gaps, strengths, and weaknesses in your work flows through process mapping to aid in the development of the EMR that truly meets your needs.



Most challenges within an organization are caused by a flawed or misunderstood process. Are you familiar with and understand your organization's work flows? Through process mapping, you can identify these and strive to improve those that need improved, eliminate those that are nonessential, and create those that are missing. Seek this opportunity to be proactive-learn how to become more educated and informed on how you do business.