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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 32-41

Electronic health records: Use and barriers among physicians in eastern province of Saudi Arabia

Department of Health Information Management and Technology, College of Applied Medical Sciences in University of Dammam, Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Azza Ali El Mahalli
College of Applied Medical Sciences in University of Dammam, Dammam
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: This is a budgeted project by Deanship of Scientific Research in University of Dammam- SA (Grant# 2012145), Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2278-0521.151407

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Background: Electronic health record (EHR) applications improved quality and diminished health services cost. Aims: Project aimed to determine utilization and barriers of EHR by physicians. Settings: Three governmental hospitals in Eastern Province in Saudi Arabia adopted EHR system with the same software and functionalities. Design: Study was cross-sectional. Materials and Methods: EHR functionalities tool of a previous study was used. Additionally, tool included physicians' data and barriers of utilizing functionalities. Response scale of using functionalities was 'used' or 'not used'. Questionnaires were distributed among physicians working in departments adopting EHR. Overall response rate was 57.5% (319/555). Results: There was under-utilization of almost all functionalities. The least one was 'data back-up and disaster recovery' (18.2%) and the highest was 'enter pharmacy orders' (96.2%). There was no use of communication tools with patients as e-mails, facsimile and short messages. Physicians had no access to charts while they are outside hospital. Patients had no access to records. There was under-utilization of Automatic International Classification of Diseases (ICD) (27.6%). Most common barriers were system hanging up (86.5%), loss of access to records transiently if computer crashes or power fails (85.6%), fastness in utilizing system (84.3%), and system takes additional time for data entry (83.4%). Lack of continuous training/support from IT staff in the hospital (79.3%), lack of customizability of the system according to users' needs (78.1%), complexity of technology (74%), disturbing patient-doctor communication (71.2%, P < 0.05), and lack in belief in EHR adoption (63.6%, P ≤ 0.05) were cited. Conclusions: Under-utilization of most of functionalities. Physicians should be encouraged to use it via overcoming the obstacles.

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