Background: Recent decades have seen rapid growth in the implementation of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) in healthcare settings in both developed regions as well as low and middle income countries. Yet despite substantial investment, the implementation of EMRs in some primary care systems has lagged behind other settings, with piecemeal adoption of EMR functionality by primary care physicians (PCPs) themselves. We aimed to review and synthesise international literature on the attitudes of PCPs to EMR adoption using the Clinical Adoption (CA) Framework.
Methods: MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and EMBASE were searched from 1st January 1996 to 1st August 2017 for studies investigating PCP attitudes towards EMR adoption. Papers were screened by two independent reviewers, and eligible studies selected for further assessment. Findings were categorised against the CA Framework and the quality of studies assessed against one of three appropriate tools.
Results: Out of 2263 potential articles, 33 were included, based in North and South America, Europe, Middle East and Hong Kong. Concerns about the accessibility, reliability and EMR utility exerted an adverse influence on PCPs' attitudes to adoption. However many were positive about their potential to improve clinical productivity, patient safety and care quality. Younger, computer-literate PCPs, based in large/multi-group practices, were more likely to be positively inclined to EMR use than older physicians, less-skilled in technology use, based in solo practices. Adequate training, policies and procedures favourably impacted on PCPs' views on EMR implementation. Financial factors were common system level influencers shaping EMR adoption, from start-up costs to the resources required by ongoing use.
Conclusions: By using the CA Framework to synthesise the evidence, we identified a linked series of factors influencing PCPs attitudes to EMR adoption. Findings underline the need to involve end-users in future implementation programmes from the outset, to avoid the development of an EMR which is neither feasible nor acceptable for use in practice.
Trial registration: PROSPERO CRD42016038790 .
Keywords: Clinical adoption framework; Electronic health records; General practitioners; Primary health care.