Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)


Business Administration


Dr. Lynn Szostek


By the end of 2015, Medicare-eligible physicians at primary care practices (PCP) who do not use an electronic health record (EHR) system will incur stiff penalties if they fail to meet the deadline for using EHRs. Yet, less than 30% of rural primary clinics have fully functional EHR systems. The purpose of this phenomenology study was to explore rural primary care physicians and physician assistants' experiences regarding overcoming barriers to implementing EHRs. Complex adaptive systems formed the conceptual framework for this study. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews with a purposeful sample of 21 physicians and physician assistants across 2 rural PCPs in the southeastern region of Missouri. Participant perceptions were elicited regarding overcoming barriers to implementing EHRs under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act legislation. Interview questions were transcribed and processed through qualitative software to discern themes of how rural PCP physicians and physician assistants might overcome barriers to implementing electronic health records. Through the exploration of the narrative segments, 4 emergent themes were common among the participants: (a) limited finances to support EHRs, (b) health information exchange issues, (c) lack of business education, and (d) lack of transformation at rural medical practices. The implications for positive social change include the potential implementation of EHRs particularly in physician practices in rural communities, which could provide cost-efficient health care services for those communities and a more sustainable future at primary care practices.