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Can Fam Physician. 2008 May;54(5):730-6.

Implementing electronic health records: Key factors in primary care.

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Centre for Studies in Family Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at The University of Western Ontario in London.



To examine common themes about implementing and adopting electronic health record (EHR) systems that emerged from 3 separate studies of the experiences of primary health care providers and those who implement EHRs.


Synthesis of the findings of 3 qualitative studies.


Primary health care practices in southwestern Ontario and the Centre for Studies in Family Medicine at The University of Western Ontario in London.


Family physicians, other primary health care providers, and the Deliver Primary Healthcare Information management and operations team.


The findings of 3 separate qualitative studies exploring the implementation of EHRs were synthesized. In the 3 studies, investigators used semistructured interview guides to conduct one-on-one interviews and a focus group, which were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim, to collect information about participants' experiences implementing and adopting EHRs. Transcripts were coded and analyzed by 1 or 2 investigators, and the research team met regularly for synthesis and interpretation of themes.


Four common themes arose from the 3 studies: expectations of EHRs, time and training required to implement and adopt the software, the emergence of an EHR champion or problem solver, and the readiness of health care providers to accept the system.


Those considering implementing and adopting EHRs into a family practice environment should reflect on the following issues: their expectations of the system and what is needed to use the software, the level of commitment to EHR implementation and adoption, the availability of someone willing to take a leadership or champion role, and how much knowledge of computers potential EHR users have.

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