Date of Conferral



Doctor of Healthcare Administration, DHA


Health Services


Suzanne Richins


The introduction of federal initiatives and incentives regarding health information technology fostered a movement towards the adoption of electronic health records (EHR). Implementation of EHRs sparked discussions among healthcare providers, patients, and others about the benefits or challenges of the move from the traditional paper method to the electronic version in healthcare settings. A knowledge gap in research involving the usefulness of EHRs and their impact to the delivery of care in other settings exists. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore public health providers' perceptions of the meaningful use of EHRs in a disaster setting. Study participants were public health providers from Louisiana recruited via criterion sampling and snowball sampling. A qualitative, phenomenological design was used to gain understanding of the public health providers' experiences with and perceptions of EHRs in a disaster setting. Data were collected from 7 public health providers using in-depth interviews and reflective journal notes. The data were analyzed for patterns and themes using the hermeneutic circle method. The study findings indicate that individuals want to be involved in designing their system and adjusting workflow in the workplace setting. The majority of participants concluded that EHR systems are beneficial in the disaster setting, but there were no impacts to improving health outcomes. The findings provide policymakers, public health departments, healthcare providers, emergency managers, and communities needed information on the potential impact of EHRs in the disaster setting on improving safe and effective care.