Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Am Med Inform Assoc. 1996 Sep-Oct;3(5):340-8.

A randomized controlled trial of a computer-based physician workstation in an outpatient setting: implementation barriers to outcome evaluation.

Author information

  • 1Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, CA, USA.



A research prototype Physician Workstation (PWS) incorporating a graphical user interface and a drug ordering module was compared with the existing hospital information system in an academic Veterans Administration General Medical Clinic. Physicians in the intervention group received recommendations for drug substitutions to reduce costs and were alerted to potential drug interactions. The objective was to evaluate the effect of the PWS on user satisfaction, on health-related outcomes, and on costs.


A one-year, two-period, randomized controlled trial with 37 subjects.


Differences in the reliance on noncomputer sources of information, in user satisfaction, in the cost of prescribed medications, and in the rate of clinically relevant drug interactions were assessed.


The study subjects logged onto the workstation an average of 6.53 times per provider and used it to generate 2.8% of prescriptions during the intervention period. On a five-point scale (5 = very satisfied, 1 = very dissatisfied), user satisfaction declined in the PWS group (3.44 to 2.98 p = 0.008), and increased in the control group (3.23 to 3.72, p < 0.0001).


The intervention physicians did not use the PWS frequently enough to influence information-seeking behavior, health outcomes, or cost. The study design did not determine whether the poor usage resulted from satisfaction with the control system, problems using the PWS intervention, or the functions provided by the PWS intervention. Evaluative studies should include provisions to improve the chance of successful implementation as well as to yield maximum information if a negative study occurs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center