Feasibility and acceptability of a computerised system with automated reminders for prescribing behaviour in primary care.
SourceInternational Journal of Medical Informatics, 77, 3, (2008), pp. 199-207
Article / Letter to editor
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Medical Technology Assessment
Centre for Quality of Care Research
International Journal of Medical Informatics
SubjectEBP 4: Quality of Care
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of a computer reminder system (CRS) to improve prescribing behaviour in general practice and to explore the strengths and weaknesses of a reminder system. One group of GPs received reminders on cholesterol lowering drugs, the other group on antibiotics, asthma and COPD drugs. METHODS: Process evaluation of the computer reminder system being used by 53 GPs in 20 practices, by means of an analysis of the research database of the CRS. In addition, a questionnaire and semi-structured face-to-face interview were conducted with all GP practices, two project leaders, and one technical consultant. RESULTS: The strategy was largely carried out as planned, although the development period for the CRS had to be extended. Nine percent of the GPs dropped out. We found a significant learning curve without extinguishing effect (p=0.03) for the antibiotics reminders. The questionnaire showed that, in general, GPs were satisfied with the user-friendliness and the content of the different types of reminders, but less satisfied with certain specific technical performance issues of the system. The GPs reported mixed feelings towards the CRS in the interviews. They were generally positive about the guidelines themselves, but negative regarding to the organisational context and the method of implementing the CRS. GPs stated that they sometimes manipulated the system to bypass reminders. Interviews with the project leaders and technical consultant revealed barriers to cooperation and miscommunication between the different parties, and technical problems with multiple updates of the GP information system and the operating system. CONCLUSIONS: This process evaluation demonstrated that the implementation of the CRS was mainly carried out as planned, but the subjective experience of working with the CRS was not only positive. Participating GPs had mixed feelings, and quite a number of barriers need to be addressed to facilitate large-scale implementation of the CRS. Costs cannot be neglected, so it is important to analyse the balance between costs and effects.
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- Faculty of Medical Sciences 
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