Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Health Administration

First Advisor

Gloria J. Bazzoli


Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems could make healthcare delivery safer by providing benefits such as timely access to accurate and complete patient information, advances in diagnosis and coordination of care, and enhancements for monitoring patient vitals. This study explored the nature of EHR adoption in U.S. hospitals and their patient safety performance in relation to one hospital acquired condition: postoperative sepsis – a condition that complicates hospitalizations, increases lengths of stay, and leads to higher mortality rates. Administrative data from several sources were utilized in order to obtain comprehensive information about the patient, organizational, and market characteristics of hospitals, their EHR adoption patterns, and the occurrence of postoperative sepsis among their patients. The study sample consisted of 404 general, short-term, acute care, non-federal, and urban hospitals based in six states, which provided longitudinal data from 2005 to 2009. Hospital EHR and the EHR’s sophistication level were measured by the presence of eight clinical applications. Econometric techniques were used to test six hypotheses that were derived from macro-organizational theories and frameworks. After controlling for potential confounders, the study’s key findings suggested that hospitals had a significant increase in the probability of having EHR as the percent of other hospitals having the most sophisticated EHR (i.e., EHRS3) in the market increased. Conversely, hospitals had a significant decrease in the probability of having EHR when the percent of Medicaid patients increased within a hospital or when the hospital belonged to centralized or moderately centralized systems. Also, the study findings suggested that EHR was associated with a higher rate of postoperative sepsis. Specifically, the intermediate EHR sophistication level (i.e., EHRS2) and the most sophisticated EHR level (i.e., EHRS3) were associated with a significantly higher rate of postoperative sepsis when compared to hospitals that did not have such EHR sophistication. The study results, however, did not support the hypotheses that higher degrees of fit between hospitals’ EHR sophistication level and specific structural dimensions were associated with greater reductions in postoperative sepsis outcomes vis-à-vis hospitals that did not have these types of fit.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2013