A qualitative study of physician perspectives on adaptation to electronic health records

Cynthia J. Sieck, Nicole Pearl, Tiffani J. Bright, Po Yin Yen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Electronic Health Records (EHRs) have the potential to improve many aspects of care and their use has increased in the last decade. Because of this, acceptance and adoption of EHRs is less of a concern than adaptation to use. To understand this issue more deeply, we conducted a qualitative study of physician perspectives on EHR use to identify factors that facilitate adaptation. Methods: We conducted semi-structured interviews with 9 physicians across a range of inpatient disciplines at a large Academic Medical Center. Interviews were conducted by phone, lasting approximately 30 min, and were transcribed verbatim for analysis. We utilized inductive and deductive methods in our analysis. Results: We identified 4 major themes related to EHR adaptation: impact of EHR changes on physicians, how physicians managed these changes, factors that facilitated adaptation to using the EHR and adapting to using the EHR in the patient encounter. Within these themes, physicians felt that a positive mindset toward change, providing upgrade training that was tailored to their role, and the opportunity to learn from colleagues were important facilitators of adaptation. Conclusions: As EHR use moves beyond implementation, physicians continue to be required to adapt to the technology and to its frequent changes. Our study provides actionable findings that allow healthcare systems to focus on factors that facilitate the adaptation process for physicians.

Original languageEnglish
Article number25
JournalBMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 10 2020


  • Adaptation
  • Electronic health records
  • Health information technology


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