Journal of Medical Systems

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 3677–3684 | Cite as

Family Physicians’ Perceptions and Use of Electronic Clinical Decision Support During the First Year of Implementation

  • Annemie HeselmansEmail author
  • Bert Aertgeerts
  • Peter Donceel
  • Siegfried Geens
  • Stijn Van de Velde
  • Dirk Ramaekers
Original Paper


An electronic decision support system (the EBMeDS system) was integrated in one of the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) of Belgian family physicians (Feb 2010). User acceptance of the system is considered as a necessary condition for the effective implementation of any IT project. Facilitators, barriers and issues of non-acceptance need to be understood in view of a successful implementation and to minimize unexpected adoption behavior. Objectives of the study were the assessment of users’ perceptions towards the recently implemented EBMeDS system, the investigation of user-interactions with the system and possible relationships between perceptions and use. A mixed evaluation approach was performed consisting of a qualitative and a quantitative analysis. The technology acceptance model of UTAUT was used as a structural model for the development of our questionnaire to identify factors that may account for acceptance and use of the EBMeDS system (seven-point Likert scales). A quantitative analysis of computer-recorded user interactions with the system was performed for an evaluation period of 3 months to assess the actual use of the system. Qualitative and quantitative analysis were linked to each other. Thirty-nine family physicians (12 %) completed the survey. The majority of respondents (66 %) had a positive attitude towards the system in general. Mean intention to keep using the system was high (5,91 ± 1,33). Their perception of the ease of use of the system (mean 5,04 ± 1,41), usefulness (mean 4,69 ± 1,35) and facilitating conditions (4,43 ± 1,13) was in general positive. Only 0,35 % of reminders were requested on demand, the other 99,62 % of reminders displayed automatically. Detailed guidelines (long) were requested for 0,47 % of reminders automatically shown versus 16,17 % of reminders on request. The script behind the reminders was requested for 8,4 % of reminders automatically shown versus 13,6 % of reminders on request. The majority of respondents demonstrated a relatively high degree of acceptance towards the EBMeDS system. Although the majority of respondents was in general positive towards the ease of use of the system, usefulness and facilitating conditions, part of the statements gave rather mixed results and could be identified as important points of interest for future implementation initiatives and system improvements. It has to be stressed that our population consisted of a convenience sample of early adopters, willing to answer a questionnaire. The willingness to adopt the system depends on the willingness to use ICPC coding. As such, the quality of reminding partly depends on the quality of coding. There is a need to reach a larger population of physicians (including physicians who never used the system or stopped using the system) to validate the results of this survey.


Evidence-based medicine Electronic clinical decision support systems Reminder systems Perceptions Barriers 



We would like to thank all the family physicians who took part in this study and are grateful to all experts of SoSoeMe who created the possibilities to perform the study.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annemie Heselmans
    • 6
    Email author
  • Bert Aertgeerts
    • 2
    • 4
  • Peter Donceel
    • 3
  • Siegfried Geens
    • 4
  • Stijn Van de Velde
    • 4
  • Dirk Ramaekers
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Public HealthKULeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Academic Center for General PracticeKULeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.Occupational, Environmental and Insurance MedicineKULeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  4. 4.Belgian Center for Evidence Based MedicineBelgian Branch of the Cochrane CollaborationLeuvenBelgium
  5. 5.ZNA Hospital Network AntwerpAntwerpenBelgium
  6. 6.Department of Public HealthKULeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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