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Exploring facilitators of the implementation of electronic health records in Saudi Arabia

Haitham A. Alzghaibi, Hayley Hutchings Orcid Logo

BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, Volume: 22, Issue: 1

Swansea University Author: Hayley Hutchings Orcid Logo

Abstract

IntroductionThe introduction of information technology was one of the key priorities for policy-makers in health care organisations over the last two decades due to the potential benefits of this technology to improve health care services and quality. However, approximately 50% of those projects fai...

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Published in: BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making
ISSN: 1472-6947
Published: Springer Science and Business Media LLC 2022
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa62151
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Abstract: IntroductionThe introduction of information technology was one of the key priorities for policy-makers in health care organisations over the last two decades due to the potential benefits of this technology to improve health care services and quality. However, approximately 50% of those projects failed to achieve their intended aims. This was a result of several factors, including the cost of these projects. The Saudi Ministry of Health (MoH) planned to implement an electronic health record system (EHRS) in approximately 2100 primary health care centres nationwide. It was acknowledged that this project may face hurdles, which might result in the failure of the project if implementation facilitators were not first determined. According to the Saudi MoH, previous electronic health record system implementation in primary health care centres failed as a consequence of several barriers, such as poor infrastructure, lack of connectivity and lack of interoperability. However, the facilitators of successful electronic health record system implementation in Saudi primary health care centres are not understood.AimTo determine the facilitators that enhance the success of the implementation of an EHRS in public primary health care centres in SA.MethodA mixed methods approach was used with both qualitative and quantitative methods (qualitative using semistructured interviews and quantitative with a closed survey). The purpose of the utilisation of exploratory mixed methods was to identify a wide range of facilitators that may influence EHRS implementation. The data were obtained from two different perspectives, primary health care centre practitioners and project team members. A total of 351 practitioners from 21 primary health care centres participated in the online survey, and 14 key informants at the Saudi Ministry of Health who were directly involved in the electronic health record system implementation in the primary health care centres agreed to be interviewed face to face.ResultsThe findings from both studies revealed several facilitators. Among these facilitators, financial resources were found to be the most influential factor that assisted in overcoming some barriers, such as software selection. The size of the primary health care centres was the second facilitator of successful implementation, despite the scale of the project. Perceived usefulness was another facilitator identified in both the interviews and the survey. More than 90% of the participants thought that the electronic health record system was useful and could contribute to improving the quality of health care services. While a high level of satisfaction was expressed towards the electronic health record system’s usability and efficiency, low levels of satisfaction were recorded for organisational factors such as user involvement, training and support. Hence, system usability and efficiency were documented to be other facilitators of successful electronic health record system implementation in Saudi primary health care centres.ConclusionThe findings of the present study suggest that sufficient financial support is essential to enhance the success of electronic health record system implementation despite the scale of the project. Additionally, effective leadership and project management are core factors to overcome many obstacles and ensure the success of large-scale projects.
Keywords: Electronic health records system, Facilitators, Primary Health Care Centres, General practitioners
College: Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences
Funders: This project was fully funded by Qassim University, project number QU-IF-2-2-3-26935.
Issue: 1