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Benefits and challenges of EMR implementations in low resource settings: a state-of-the-art review

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journal contribution
posted on 21.05.2021, 12:28 by Badeia Jawhari, Dave Ludwick, Louanne Keenan, David Zakus, Robert Hayward
Background The intent of this review is to discover the types of inquiry and range of objectives and outcomes addressed in studies of the impacts of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) implementations in limited resource settings in sub-Saharan Africa. Methods A state-of-the-art review characterized relevant publications from bibliographic databases and grey literature repositories through systematic searching, concept-mapping, relevance and quality filter optimization, methods and outcomes categorization and key article analysis. Results From an initial population of 749 domain articles published before February 2015, 32 passed context and methods filters to merit full-text analysis. Relevant literature was classified by type (e.g., secondary, primary), design (e.g., case series, intervention), focus (e.g., processes, outcomes) and context (e.g., location, organization). A conceptual framework of EMR implementation determinants (systems, people, processes, products) was developed to represent current knowledge about the effects of EMRs in resource-constrained settings and to facilitate comparisons with studies in other contexts. Discussion This review provides an overall impression of the types and content of health informatics articles about EMR implementations in sub-Saharan Africa. Little is known about the unique effects of EMR efforts in slum settings. The available reports emphasize the complexity and impact of social considerations, outweighing product and system limitations. Summative guides and implementation toolkits were not found but could help EMR implementers. Conclusion The future of EMR implementation in sub-Saharan Africa is promising. This review reveals various examples and gaps in understanding how EMR implementations unfold in resource-constrained settings; and opportunities for new inquiry about how to improve deployments in those contexts.