Information and Communication Technologies in Primary Healthcare – Barriers and Facilitators in the Implementation Process

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Despite the great expansion and many benefits of information and communication technologies (ICT) in healthcare, the attitudes of Polish general practitioners (GPs) to e-health have not been explored. The aim of this study was to determine the GPs’ perception of ICT use in healthcare and to identify barriers to the adoption of EMR (Electronic Medical Records) in the Podlaskie Voivodeship. Online and telephone surveys were conducted between April and May 2013. Responses from 103 GP practices, 43% of all practices in the region, were analysed. The results showed that 67% of the respondents agreed that IT systems improve quality of healthcare services. In the GP group who declared at least partial EMR implementation, 71.4% see the positive impact of IT on practice staff processes and 66.1% on personal working processes. In this group, more than three-quarters of GPs did not see any positive impact of ICT on the average number of patients treated per day, number of patients within the practice or scope of services. The four most common barriers to EMR implementation were: lack of funds, risk of a malfunction in the system, resistance to change, and lack of training and proper information. Although the use of ICT by Polish GPs is limited, their attitude to e-health is generally positive or neutral and resembles the overall pattern in Europe. Barriers identified by GPs need to be taken into account to ensure the effective implementation of e-health across the country.

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