A hospital-wide transition from paper to digital problem-oriented clinical notes

Journal: Applied Clinical Informatics
ISSN: 1869-0327
Issue: Vol. 8: Issue 2 2017
Pages: 502-514

A hospital-wide transition from paper to digital problem-oriented clinical notes

A descriptive history and cross-sectional survey of use, usability, and satisfaction

Research Article

F. H. J. M. Cillessen (1), P. F. de Vries Robbé (1), M. C. J. Biermans (1)

(1) Department of Primary and Community Care, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands


Evaluation, problem-oriented medical records, physician, Electronic health records and systems, satisfaction


Objectives: To evaluate the use, usability, and physician satisfaction of a locally developed problem-oriented clinical notes application that replaced paper-based records in a large Dutch university medical center.

Methods: Using a clinical notes database and an application event log file and a cross-sectional survey of usability, authors retrospectively analyzed system usage for medical specialties, users, and patients over 4 years. A standardized questionnaire measured usability. Authors analyzed the effects of sex, age, professional experience, training hours, and medical specialty on user satisfaction via univariate analysis of variance. Authors also examined the correlation between user satisfaction in relation to users’ intensity of use of the application.

Results: In total 1,793 physicians used the application to record progress notes for 219,755 patients. The overall satisfaction score was 3.2 on a scale from 1 (highly dissatisfied) to 5 (highly satisfied). A statistically significant difference occurred in satisfaction by medical specialty, but no statistically significant differences in satisfaction took place by sex, age, professional experience, or training hours. Intensity of system use did not correlate with physician satisfaction.

Conclusions: By two years after the start of the implementation, all medical specialties utilized the clinical notes application. User satisfaction was neutral (3.2 on a 1–5 scale). Authors believe that the significant factors facilitating this transition mirrored success factors reported by other groups: a generic, consistent, and transparent design of the application; intensive collaboration; continuous monitoring; and an incremental rollout.

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