Gender, personality impact med student EHR acceptance

Determining medical students' individual beliefs about the' usefulness and usability of electronic health records can enable medical schools to better tailor EHR training and improve clinicians' acceptance of the systems, according to a new study in the AHIMA Foundation's Perspectives in Health Information Management.

The researchers, affiliated with the University of Florida, acknowledged that EHRs "fundamentally alter" how physicians interact with patients and otherwise perform their work; inadequate technical support and perceptions that EHRs lack value, they said, will impede adoption and adversely affect satisfaction with EHRs.

The study evaluated 126 third-year medical students at a large southeastern university to identify which personal characteristics related to their perceptions of EHRs. They found that men were more likely than women to report that EHRs were easy to use (5.11 v. 4.49 on a 7 point scale). There was not a statistical difference between men and women in their perception of the usefulness of EHRs.

Perhaps not surprisingly, high ease-of-use scores also were associated with high scores of computer self-efficacy, openness to change and high levels of "conscientious personality." 

"By better understanding individual differences among students and related technology beliefs, educators and administrators can customize medical school curricula and EHR training to maximize physicians' understanding and acceptance of EHRs," the researchers said. "Insufficiently flexible strategies decrease system acceptance and user satisfaction while increasing clinical workarounds and other project failures."

The results mirror that of another recent study that found nurses' personalities and acceptance of technology significantly affected their views of EHRs and willingness to work with such tools.

EHR productivity and dissatisfaction have been recurring issues for clinicians, who often see transitioning to EHRs as yet another burden and impeding patient care.

To learn more:
- read the study