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PATIENTS’ ATTITUDES TO THE GPs’ USE OF THE COMPUTER: ARE WE TURNING OUR BACKS ON OUR PATIENTS? Dr Wai-Sun Chan, Dr Kieran McGlade. Department of General.

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Presentation on theme: "PATIENTS’ ATTITUDES TO THE GPs’ USE OF THE COMPUTER: ARE WE TURNING OUR BACKS ON OUR PATIENTS? Dr Wai-Sun Chan, Dr Kieran McGlade. Department of General."— Presentation transcript:

1 PATIENTS’ ATTITUDES TO THE GPs’ USE OF THE COMPUTER: ARE WE TURNING OUR BACKS ON OUR PATIENTS? Dr Wai-Sun Chan, Dr Kieran McGlade. Department of General Practice, Queen’s University Belfast. Introduction: Computers are now regarded as an essential tool for GPs in the consulting room. An estimated 15% of practices in the UK run paperless consultations 1. The computer has many uses in the consultation such as accessing clinical notes, looking up investigation results, prescribing and storing of morbidity summaries. It has also been shown to improve performance in health promotion and screening 2. As the NHS prepares to introduce National Electronic Health records by 2005 it appears that GPs will be spending even more of their time on their computers during the consultation. Aim: The aim of the study was to elucidate patients’ attitudes and opinions of their GP’s use of the computer. It forms part of a larger investigation into the use of the computer in the consultation. Method: Patients were invited to participate as they attended their GP. Consent was obtained prior to their consultation, and afterwards they were asked complete a carefully devised questionnaire about their individual characteristics and their attitudes to their GP’s use of the computer. Part of the questionnaire was derived from a previous computer study and another part was a modified version of the patient enablement instrument 3. All results were analysed using the SPSS statistics package. Results: 102 patients (59% participation rate) attending 10 GPs completed the questionnaires. Mean age was 48, and 44% of patients stated no previous experience of computer use. 51% felt that the time the GP spent on the computer was ‘about right’. 99% of patients felt they knew why their GP used the computer. Only 1% felt distracted by the computer and 3% felt that the GP was distracted by the computer. All patients were happy with the way the GP used the computer, and 95% agreed the computer was useful in the consultation. Patient enablement as a result of the computer’s presence in the consultation showed patients looked upon computer use favourably. (table below) Patients’ responses were not significant with respect to their age, GP or their previous experience of computer use. 98% percent of patients gave at least 8 out of 10 for satisfaction with their consultation. Conclusions: Patients are happy with the way GPs presently use their computer during the consultation regardless of their age or previous experience with the computer. Patients recognise that it is a very useful tool. Reassuringly despite their extensive use in consultations today, patient satisfaction rates, as in studies done in the early 1980s 4, remains high. These results should not lead to complacency however. More research is required to investigate GPs various consulting styles with their computers. References: 1. Benson T. Why GPs use computers and hospital doctors do not- Part 1: incentives. BMJ 2002; 325: Pringle M, Robins S, Brown G. Computer assisted screening: effect on the patient and his consultation. BMJ 1985; 290: Howie J. Heaney D, Maxwell M, Walker J, Freeman G, Rai H. Quality at general practice consultations: cross sectional study. BMJ 1999; 319: Brownbridge G, Herzmark G, Wall T. Patient reactions to doctors’ computer use in general practice consultations. Social science in medicine 1985; 20:


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