The challenge of electronic health records (EHRs) design and implementation: responses of health workers to drawing a 'big and rich picture' of a future EHR programme using animated tools

Neil Jenkings, Robert Wilson


Background and aim To investigate the use of animation tools to aid visualisation of problems for discussion within focus groups, in the context of healthcare workers discussing electronic health records (EHRs).
Method Ten healthcare staff focus groups, held in a range of organisational contexts. Each focus group was in four stages: baseline discussion, animator presentation, post-animator discussion and questionnaire. Audio recordings of the focus groups were transcribed and coded and the emergent analytic themes analysed for issues relating to EHR design and implementation. The data allowed a comparison of baseline and post-animator discussion.
Results The animator facilitated discussion about EHR issues and these were thematically coded as: Workload; Sharing Information; Access to Information; Record Content; Confidentiality; Patient Consent; and Implementation.
Conclusion We illustrate that use of the animator in focus groups is one means to raise understanding about a proposed EHR development. The animator provided a visual 'probe' to support a more proactive and discursive localised approach to end-user concerns, which could be part of an effective stakeholder engagement and communication strategy crucial in any EHR or health informatics implementation programme. The results of the focus groups were to raise salient issues and concerns, many of which anticipated those that have emerged in the current NHS Connecting for Health Care Records programme in England. Potentially, animator- type technologies may facilitate the user ownership which other forms of dissemination appear to be failing to achieve.


electronic health records; healthcare technology design; user involvement.

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