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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


DAWIDOWSKI, Adriana Ruth et al. Changes in physicians' attitudes to computerized ambulatory medical record systems: a longitudinal qualitative study. Gac Sanit [online]. 2007, vol.21, n.5, pp.384-389. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objectives: To explore physicians' beliefs about a computerized ambulatory medical record system at different stages of its implementation. Methods: We performed a longitudinal qualitative in-depth interview study (July 2001 to December 2003) in the Hospital Italiano, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in 20 primary care cardiologists purposively selected before, during and after the system's implementation process (10 interviews per stage). The interviews were independently analyzed by 2 researchers, who jointly designed an agreed category list. Results: Both before and during the first stage of the implementation process, the physicians expected that that the system would improve healthcare-related administration and increase accessibility to individual data. However, they did not foresee that the system's shared information could modify the clinical aspects of patient care. By the end of the implementation process, the physicians realized that the system provided them with a broader perspective on their patients, which in turn improved their own professional performance. Throughout the implementation, the physicians were against using the computer while the patient was present. This opposition prevented them from regarding the system as part of the medical consultation and from considering data from the system as direct patient-related signs. Conclusions: The system's implementation modified the physicians' views on computerized ambulatory medical records, as they eventually considered them as an ancillary tool to clinical activity. The value assigned to the system depends on its relevance within the institutional framework.

Keywords : Attitude to computers; Attitude of health personnel; Computerized medical records systems; Qualitative research; Physician-patient relations.

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