We report how seven independent critical access hospitals collaborated with a rural referral hospital to standardize workflow policies and procedures while jointly implementing the same health information technologies (HITs) to enhance medication care processes. The study hospitals implemented the same electronic health record, computerized provider order entry, pharmacy information systems, automated dispensing cabinets (ADC), and barcode medication administration systems. We conducted interviews and examined project documents to explore factors underlying the successful implementation of ADC and barcode medication administration across the network hospitals. These included a shared culture of collaboration; strategic sequencing of HIT component implementation; interface among HIT components; strategic placement of ADCs; disciplined use and sharing of workflow analyses linked with HIT applications; planning for workflow efficiencies; acquisition of adequate supply of HIT-related devices; and establishing metrics to monitor HIT use and outcomes.
Keywords: Critical access hospitals, medication process, health information technology, electronic health record, computerized provider order entry, pharmacy information systems, automated dispensing cabinets, bar code medication administration, pharmacists', medication order review