Purpose: This qualitative study explored the experiences of primary health care providers and staff who had moved beyond the stage of implementing electronic medical records (EMRs) in their practices to using this technology on an on-going basis.
Methods: A descriptive qualitative approach was used. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 19 participants. Data analysis was iterative and interpretive.
Results: Factors that hindered and motivated ongoing EMR use emerged. Factors that hindered use included (1) information technology challenges such as learning to use the EMR and the computer, electronic connectivity, and scanning; and (2) variability in on-going EMR use. Two factors motivated ongoing use: (1) improved efficiency in patient care, and (2) confidence with computers and EMR software.
Conclusions: Different issues in the use of EMRs surface as primary health care providers and staff mature in their use of this technology. Ongoing use of the EMR may be facilitated by confidence with the technology as well as providers' perceptions of efficiency in patient care. Optimal use of the EMR could be facilitated through assessing and enhancing computer skills, working toward consistent data entry and use of the EMR, and developing strategies to address issues such as scanning and electronic connectivity.