Users’ perception on factors contributing to electronic medical records systems use: a focus group discussion study in healthcare facilities setting in Kenya
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making. 2021, 21, 362. 10.1186/s12911-021-01737-x
Background Electronic medical records systems (EMRs) adoption in healthcare to facilitate work processes have become common in many countries. Although EMRs are associated with quality patient care, patient safety, and cost reduction, their adoption rates are comparatively low. Understanding factors associated with the use of the implemented EMRs are critical for advancing successful implementations and scale-up sustainable initiatives. The aim of this study was to explore end users’ perceptions and experiences on factors facilitating and hindering EMRs use in healthcare facilities in Kenya, a low- and middle-income country. Methods Two focus group discussions were conducted with EMRs users (n = 20) each representing a healthcare facility determined by the performance of the EMRs implementation. Content analysis was performed on the transcribed data and relevant themes derived. Results Six thematic categories for both facilitators and barriers emerged, and these related to (1) system functionalities; (2) training; (3) technical support; (4) human factors; (5) infrastructure, and (6) EMRs operation mode. The identified facilitators included: easiness of use and learning of the system complemented by EMRs upgrades, efficiency of EMRs in patient data management, responsive information technology (IT) and collegial support, and user training. The identified barriers included: frequent power blackouts, inadequate computers, retrospective data entry EMRs operation mode, lack of continuous training on system upgrades, and delayed IT support. Conclusions Users generally believed that the EMRs improved the work process, with multiple factors identified as facilitators and barriers to their use. Most users perceived system functionalities and training as motivators to EMRs use, while infrastructural issues posed as the greatest barrier. No specific EMRs use facilitators and/or barriers could be attributed to facility performance levels. Continuous evaluations are necessary to assess improvements of the identified factors as well as determine emerging issues.