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Current use of electronic medical records in primary care of chronic disease: The implications for clinical governance

Nicola Shaw (Based at Health Informatics Institute, Algoma University, Ontario, Canada)
Victoria Aceti (Based at Health Informatics Institute, Algoma University, Ontario, Canada)
Denise Campbell‐Scherer (Based at Department of Family Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)
Marg Leyland (Based at Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)
Victoria Mozgala (Based at Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)
Lisa Patterson (Based at Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)
Shanna Sunley (Based at Department of Family Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)
Donna Manca (Based at Department of Family Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)
Eva Grunfeld (Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)

Clinical Governance: An International Journal

ISSN: 1477-7274

Article publication date: 18 October 2011

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Research limitations/implications

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.

Practical implications

Data extraction needs to be easier so that screening of patients, at risk or living with chronic disease, can be facilitated.

Social implications

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.

Originality/value

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.

Keywords

Citation

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

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited