Evans J, Guthrie B, Pagliari C, Greene A, Morris AD, Cunningham SL & Donnan PT (2008) Do general practice characteristics influence uptake of an information technology (IT) innovation in primary care?. Informatics in Primary Care, 16 (1), pp. 3-8. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/rmp/ipc/2008/00000016/00000001/art00002
Introduction: Recent evaluations of IT innovations in primary care have highlighted variations between centres and practices in uptake and use. We evaluated whether structural characteristics of a general practice were associated with variations in use of a web-based clinical information system underpinning a Managed Clinical Network in diabetes, between the years 2001 and 2003.
Methods: Using a computerised audit trail, we calculated the numbers of web-based operations that occurred in each practice, stratified by staff type and year, and adjusted for the numbers of registered diabetic patients. In regression analyses, we determined whether total use was associated with structural characteristics of the practice (total list size, training status, numbers of GPs (general practitioners), mean age of the GPs, numbers of female GPs, level of deprivation of the population and whether staff had received advanced training in diabetes care).
Results: Initially there were a few practices which made very frequent use of the information system, with relatively high numbers of practices using the facility infrequently. However, overall use gradually became more evenly spread. This effect was particularly evident among nurse users. Frequent use by GPs was evident in only a small number of practices, with mean GP use decreasing over the three years. In linear regression analyses, none of the general practice variables were associated with online use, either overall or stratified by staff type, except for the numbers of diabetes-educated staff. This was consistently associated with increased use by nurses and GPs.
Conclusions: The analyses show that structural characteristics of a practice are not associated with uptake of a new IT facility, but that its use may be influenced by post-graduate education in the relevant clinical condition. For this diabetes system at least, practice nurse use was critical in spreading uptake beyond initial GP enthusiasts and for sustained and rising use in subsequent years.
general practice; information technology; web-based clinical information system; Primary care (Medicine)
Informatics in Primary Care: Volume 16, Issue 1