A socio-technical approach to continuity of care and electronic records in the South African context

Nicky Mostert-Phipps, Dalenca Pottas, Mikko Korpela
Studies in Health Technology and Informatics 2010, 160: 406-10
Paper-based techniques of record keeping are contributing greatly to the discontinuity of patient care among healthcare providers. To achieve continuity, access to the information contained in medical records collected by various healthcare providers is necessary. To improve the sharing of information contained in these medical records the use of electronic methods of record keeping as opposed to paper-based records becomes very important. Even though the benefits of using electronic methods of record keeping are widely documented, the majority of South African healthcare practitioners still use paper-based methods. This paper describes an explorative study to determine barriers to the adoption of electronic records in the private primary care sector of South Africa. An interpretive approach using a socio-technical systems theory perspective was used to conduct the study. Based on the analysis of the socio-technical subsystems in the South African context it was revealed that there is not sufficient information available on the barriers to adoption of electronic records and further research will be necessary to identify the barriers to the adoption of electronic records.

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