Original Research

Knowledge and attitudes of nurses in community health centres about electronic medical records

Don O'Mahony, Graham Wright, Parimalarani Yogeswaran, Frederick Govere
Curationis | Vol 37, No 1 | a1150 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v37i1.1150 | © 2014 Don O'Mahony, Graham Wright, Parimalarani Yogeswaran, Frederick Govere | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 January 2013 | Published: 24 February 2014

About the author(s)

Don O'Mahony, Department of Family Medicine, Walter Sisulu University, South Africa
Graham Wright, Faculty of Health Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, South Africa
Parimalarani Yogeswaran, Department of Family Medicine, Walter Sisulu University, South Africa
Frederick Govere, Department of Clinical Medical Practice, Walter Sisulu University, South Africa

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Background: Nurses in primary healthcare record data for the monitoring and evaluation of diseases and services. Information and communications technology (ICT) can improve quality in healthcare by providing quality medical records. However, worldwide, the majority of health ICT projects have failed. Individual user acceptance is a crucial factor in successful ICT implementation.

Objectives: The aim of this study is to explore nurses’ knowledge, attitudes and perceptions regarding ICT so as to inform the future implementation of electronic medical record (EMR) systems.

Methods: A qualitative design was used. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with nurses at three community health centres (CHCs) in the King Sabata Dalyindyebo Local Municipality. The interview guide was informed by the literature on user acceptance of ICT. Interviews were recorded and analysed using content analysis.

Results: Many nurses knew about health ICT and articulated clearly the potential benefits of an EMR such as fewer errors, more complete records, easier reporting and access to information. They thought that an EMR system would solve the challenges they identified with the current paper-based record system, including duplication of data, misfiling, lack of a chronological patient record, excessive time in recording and reduced time for patient care. For personal ICT needs, approximately half used cellphone Internet-based services and computers.

Conclusions: In this study, nurses identified many challenges with the current recording methods. They thought that an EMR should be installed at CHCs. Their knowledge about EMR, positive attitudes to ICT and personal use of ICT devices increase the likelihood of successful EMR implementation at CHCs.



information and communications technology; community health centres; attitudes, knowledge, perceptions; electronic medical records; ronic medical records;


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