Practice Management Software Needs to be Improved

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2018.0076-0080

german translation / full article

Christine Kersting, Anna Herwig, Birgitta Weltermann

Keywords: electronic health record health care management longitudinal care patient-centered care practice management software

Background: Surveys among family physicians from different countries indicate that German practice management software solutions provide relatively low functionality. This study analyzes family physicians’ and practice assistants’ opinions about the use of these software solutions in practice.Methods: In May 2016, we conducted an interprofessional, semi-structured focus group interview with German family practitioners and practice assistants. It was audio-recorded and transcribed. Content-structuring qualitative content analysis according to Mayring was conducted by two independent researchers using a deductive-inductive approach supported by MAXQDA.Results: Four physicians and four practice assistants from four different practices participated. The physicians valued the simplification of their work and the transparency of documentation offered by practice management software compared to paper-based health records. In addition, they stated that software-embedded reminder systems work quite well, but are implemented for few contents of care only. Participants described current practice management software solutions as time-consuming, inconvenient, offering insufficient support when needed, and dominated by redundant functions. To overcome deficits they suggested improvements regarding user-friendliness, adaptability to practice-individual procedures, inter- and intra-sectoral linking, and recall functionalities.Conclusions: Our results are comparable to those from other countries: Practice management software solutions facilitate daily work, but aspects like the systems’ user-friendliness and adaptability need to be improved.

(State: 15.02.2018)

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