Appl Clin Inform 2021; 12(03): 589-596
DOI: 10.1055/s-0041-1731340
Research Article

Nursing Attitudes and Practices in Code Documentation Employing a New Electronic Health Record

Kimberly Whalen
1   Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Pat Grella
2   Patient Care Services Informatics, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Colleen Snydeman
3   Patient Care Services Quality and Safety, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Ann-Marie Dwyer
2   Patient Care Services Informatics, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Phoebe Yager
1   Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
› Author Affiliations
Funding None.


Objective Based on feedback from nurses regarding the challenges of code documentation following the implementation of a new electronic health record (EHR), we sought to better understand inpatient nurse attitudes and practices in code documentation and to identify opportunities for improvement.

Methods An anonymous electronic survey was distributed to all inpatient nurses working at a single, 999-bed, university-based, and quaternary care hospital. Participation in the study was voluntary and consent was implied by survey completion.

Results Overall, 432 (14%) of 3,121 inpatient nurses completed the survey. While nearly 80% of respondents indicated feeling very comfortable using computers for personal use, only 5% felt very comfortable navigating the EHR to document codes in real time. While 53% had documented codes in the new EHR, most admitted to documenting on paper with retroactive entry into the EHR. About 25% reported having participated in a code that was not accurately documented in the new EHR. All respondents provided specific suggestions for improving the EHR interface, and over 90% expressed interest in having opportunities to practice code documentation using simulated code events.

Conclusion Despite completion of training modules in code documentation in a new EHR, many inpatient nurses in a single institution feel uncomfortable documenting codes directly into the EHR, and some question the accuracy of this documentation. Improving EHR functionality based on specific recommendations from end-users coupled with more practice documenting simulated codes may ease EHR navigation, leading to nurses' acceptance of the EHR tool, more accurate and efficient documentation, greater nurse satisfaction and more appropriate quality improvement measures.

Protection of Human and Animal Subjects

Institutional review board approval was obtained.

Publication History

Received: 30 November 2020

Accepted: 16 May 2021

Article published online:
23 June 2021

© 2021. Thieme. All rights reserved.

Georg Thieme Verlag KG
Rüdigerstraße 14, 70469 Stuttgart, Germany

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