Medical Specialists' Perspectives on the Influence of Electronic Medical Record Use on the Quality of Hospital Care: Semistructured Interview Study

Rube van Poelgeest*, Guus Schrijvers, Albert Boonstra, Kit C. B. Roes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Objective: The aim of this study was to examine how, and by which aspects, the relationship between EMR use and the quality
of care in hospitals is influenced according to medical specialists.

Methods: To answer this question, a qualitative study was conducted in the period of August-October 2018. Semistructured
interviews of around 90 min were conducted with 11 medical specialists from 11 different Dutch hospitals. For analysis of the
answers, we used a previously published taxonomy of factors that can influence the use of EMRs.

Results: The professional experience of the participating medical specialists varied between 5 and 27 years. Using the previously
published taxonomy, these medical specialists considered technical barriers the most significant for EMR use. The suboptimal
change processes surrounding implementation were also perceived as a major barrier. A final major problem is related to the
categories “social” (their relationships with the patients and fellow care providers), “psychological” (based on their personal
issues, knowledge, and perceptions), and “time” (the time required to select, implement, and learn how to use EMR systems and
subsequently enter data into the system). However, the medical specialists also identified potential technical facilitators, particularly
in the assured availability of information to all health care professionals involved in the care of a patient. They see promise in
using EMRs for medical decision support to improve the quality of care but consider these possibilities currently lacking.

Conclusions: The 11 medical specialists shared positive experiences with EMR use when comparing it to formerly used paper
records. The fact that involved health care professionals can access patient data at any time they need is considered important.
However, in practice, potential quality improvement lags as long as decision support cannot be applied because of the lack of a
fully coded patient record.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere27671
Number of pages10
JournalJMIR human factors
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4-Nov-2021


  • electronic medical record (emr)
  • hospitals
  • Health care
  • medical specialist

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