This paper aims to explore the perceptions of facilitators and barriers to their using electronic medical records (EMRs) for these functions and contributes baseline data about the use of EMRs for chronic disease management. The sub‐study reported here is a baseline process evaluation of EMRs and their current use, preliminary to a larger, pragmatic, randomized controlled trial. Its purpose is to understand how EMRs are currently being used by primary care physicians to facilitate chronic disease prevention and screening in their practices.
This is a qualitative case study where the lead physician at each of eight primary care clinics (four in Alberta, four in Ontario) participated in semi‐structured interviews. Data were analyzed using thematic content analysis.
Although EMRs are being used in a limited fashion for chronic disease prevention and screening, clinicians identified few current benefits. Participants noted some instances in which paper charts were preferred and that the lack of human and financial resources is inhibiting the use of chronic disease applications already incorporated in EMRs.
To understand fully how EMRs can best be used in the logistical management of chronic disease prevention and screening requires research efforts towards improvement of the data structures they contain.
Data extraction needs to be easier so that screening of patients, at risk or living with chronic disease, can be facilitated.
Evaluation of the benefits, for the content of care and care relationships, conferred by this new method of communicating, needs to be complemented by a parallel exploration of the risks.
The paper illustrates that with the tremendous investments in EMRs it is important to learn how changes in their design could facilitate improvements in patient care in this important area.
Shaw, N., Aceti, V., Campbell‐Scherer, D., Leyland, M., Mozgala, V., Patterson, L., Sunley, S., Manca, D. and Grunfeld, E. (2011), "Current use of electronic medical records in primary care of chronic disease: The implications for clinical governance", Clinical Governance: An International Journal, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 353-363. https://doi.org/10.1108/14777271111175387
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