EMR Case Study

Dr. John McDonald could almost be considered a pioneer in the adoption of electronic medical records. In this article we look at his story in our EMR case study.

His small family medicine practice in Paris, Ontario, consists of just three people: himself, a nurse and an office assistant. In 2000 he introduced an early EMR system into his office and has since been committed to utilizing the ongoing improvements EMR technology provides to his practice. In 2007 he switched to a more advanced system in order to integrate his records with a common database shared by other local medical offices.

Dr. McDonald has found EMR technology has impacted and improved every level of patient interaction in his practice.

The office assistant uses it to check in patients, schedule appointments, answer telephone questions quickly and accurately, and to send updates to the nurse. External documents (such as discharge notes from a hospital) are also scanned into the EMR system and are automatically formatted so that they can be searched and edited.

The nurse, who sees patients before the doctor, enters data from routine physical assessments such as blood pressure, weight, and temperature. This information is then clearly accessible to the doctor when he sees the patient.

For Dr. McDonald, the EMR system has allowed him to be proactive instead of waiting for patients to bring up new health issues. He utilizes a prescription management function, which alerts him to when patients are due for a renewal and is helpful for monitoring compliance with medications. He also has digital processes for sending information to the office assistant to book follow-up appointments and tests.

The most important benefit has been the improvement in his patient relationships. The EMR has improved the quality and efficiency of time he spends with patients. He no longer worries about where some piece of information is in a chart and he can be sure he has all the information in front of him when it is time to make a decision and set up a care plan.

13 Features and Benefits of EMR Technology


  • Efficient billing
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Intra-office communications
  • Entering patients’ encounter notes
  • Generating and recording prescriptions
  • Generating referral letters
  • Ordering diagnostic tests
  • Downloading and direct import of lab results
  • Generating and maintaining patient summaries
  • Generating patient reminders
  • Scanning and storing documents
  • Remote access
  • Generating reports and practice statistics




  • When implementing an EMR, the most coommn problem faced within offices is overcoming experienced staff who are stuck in their old ways. It is difficult for some people, who have close to 20-30 years of experience using paper charts, to convert them to using an electronic record. As an office manager for a practice that converted, a coommn problem was nurses not transitioning into filling out forms and orders electronically and saving them in the appropriate saved drives so that they are accessible to everyone. This has to be understood at first because nurses are trained and concered about dealing with their patients rather than in technilogical aspects such as using software.

    JosipJuly 16, 2012

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