Learning, understanding and the use of information technology: a survey study among primary care physician trainees
SourceBMC Health Services Research, 19, 1, (2019), pp. 728
Article / Letter to editor
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BMC Health Services Research
SubjectRadboudumc 16: Vascular damage RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
BACKGROUND: User understanding of information technology systems (IT-Systems) is a prerequisite for their use. This study aimed to explore how primary care physician trainees learn, understand and use IT-Systems. METHODS: A paper-based survey study among 301 primary care physician trainees in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, was performed. The questionnaire included measures of understanding and use of nine specific system features, five possible learning strategies, a validated scale for affinity for technology interaction, and five individual and three practice characteristics. RESULTS: The sample comprised 94 respondents (31.6% response rate). Between 3.2 and 59.6% said to know specific systems features well; between 13.8 and 42.6% expressed a wish to know more about specific system features. The predominant strategy for learning system features was explanation by others: 51.7 to 66.7% had applied this strategy to learn the features. Between 18.6 and 41.4% had learned the features by trial and error. A better understanding of system features was associated with the use of a trial and error strategy for learning system features (beta = 0.260, p = 0.012). The use of a greater variety of learning strategies was associated with higher affinity for technology interaction (beta = 0.215, p = 0.037). CONCLUSION: The study suggests that many physicians need a better understanding of IT-Systems. The role of manuals, online resources and courses in learning IT-Systems seems limited. The new generation of primary care physicians seem to learn features of IT-Systems through explanation by others and trying in their ambulatory practices. The relevance of IT-Systems in healthcare is high, but physicians need more support in learning to use system features.
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