Introduction: Computerised decision support systems are increasingly important in primary care for the practice of evidence-based medicine and the development of shared GP-patient decision making. However, despite their emergence, such systems have not been entirely embraced by GPs. There is little qualitative research exploring practical barriers to the adoption of decision support systems in this setting.
Method: Qualitative interviews with 15 GPs in the West Midlands.
Results: Several practical barriers were identified to the use of computerised support systems in primary care consultations. These included limitations of practitioners' IT skills, problems for GPs in understanding the risk output of systems and GP concerns about communicating risk sufficiently well to patients. Concerns over the time implications of using a system in a consultation was also identified as a barrier.
Conclusion: Designers of decision support systems for use in primary care consultations must account for the practical needs of users when developing computerised support systems. Systems must be acceptable to the format of a consultation, include definitions of what output means, and help facilitate dialogue between the GP and the patient.