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Is primary care ready to embrace e-health? A qualitative study of staff in a London primary care trust

Mannan, R; Murphy, J; Jones, M; (2006) Is primary care ready to embrace e-health? A qualitative study of staff in a London primary care trust. Informatics in Primary Care , 14 (2) 121 - 131.

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Abstract

• Objectives e-health refers to the organisation and delivery of health services and information using the Internet and related technologies. We investigate the perceptions of primary care staff towards e-health initiatives outlined in Connecting for Health and whether frontline staff are ready to implement such changes. • Design 20 participants from different professional groups were purposively selected for interview, based on their current computer usage. The same practice staff were subsequently observed in order to gain an insight into how they use computers. • Who Practice staff (doctors, nurses, practice managers and receptionists) who will be expected to use technology within and PCT staff who are involved in its implementation were selected to participate in this study. • Setting A north London primary care trust (PCT) with 62 general practices. Four practices were selected for the study. • Results Analysis of the interviews and the observational data yielded six recurrent themes which have a bearing on readiness to use information and communication systems to support clinical care: perceptions of technology and Connecting for Health; issues relating to resources; patient choice; matters relating to confidentiality and security; political pressures; and how technology is currently used within primary care. • Conclusions At the time of the study the systems which will underpin Connecting for Health were not implemented across the PCT. All the practices in the study acknowledged the benefits technology will bring to the workplace. But there were also some common concerns which suggest that staff working in primary care practices are not ready for e-health. Successful implementation of Connecting for Health rests on identifying, acknowledging and overcoming these concerns. A different approach may be required for those practices which have made very little progress in using email or moving towards an electronic paper record. This study suggests that a mistrust of technology and fears as to the heavy initial workload involved in becoming fully computerised has dissuaded some practices from embracing e-health. If Connecting for Health is to be a success, implementation teams may need to focus initially on practices which have been reluctant to use technology to support both clinical care and the day-to-day work of the practice.

Type:Article
Title:Is primary care ready to embrace e-health? A qualitative study of staff in a London primary care trust
Location:UK
Publisher version:http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/rmp/ipc/2006/00000014/00000002/art00006
Additional information:http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/rmp/ipc/2006/00000014/00000002/art00006?token=004e18544b0c13ee5c5f3b3b47675476663b25702a7959247a4f582a2f4876753375686f493208
Keywords:attitude to computers, computrr system development, primary care, computer systems development
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care > CHIME
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care > Primary Care and Population Health

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