Electronic Health Record implementation in a large academic radiotherapy department: Temporarily disruptions but long-term benefits

Maria Jacobs, Liesbeth J Boersma, Rachelle Swart, Rob Mannens, Bart Reymen, Fred Körver, Frits van Merode, Andre Dekker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


PURPOSE: To study the number of disruptions in patient processes in a radiotherapy centre after the replacement of an Electronic Health Record (EHR), integrating information tools for patient care and billing.

METHODS: Our self-made Electronic Medical Record was replaced by a new EHR, including clinical path and workflow-management. A social-technological approach was used to reduce complexity. We measured disruptions in patient processes by the number and type of EHR related root causes and EHR-related incidents that reached patients, in our patient safety system 12 months before implementing the new EHR, 6 months after implementation (transition period) and 24 months after the transition period. We used Mann-Whitney U and X² tests to compare data before and after implementation.

RESULTS: An increase of disruptions occurred only temporarily during 6 months. After this period, the number stabilized to the level before implementation while having more functionalities and benefits. Neither the number nor the severity of incidents reaching patients increased.

CONCLUSIONS: Disruptions in patient processes are considered as a main barrier for implementing an EHR. Using a social/technical approach, the increase in disruptions did only temporarily occur and did not reach patients. We think it is important to share this insight with physicians because literature shows that their long-term opinion regarding the usefulness of the EHR is often based on the experience in the first months after implementation. Management of expectations is recommended.

ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE: This study is the first of its kind measuring long-term effects of EHR on patient processes in radiotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-348
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Informatics
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Electronic Health Records
  • Physicians
  • Workflow


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