Predictors for Assessing Electronic Messaging Between Nurses and General Practitioners as a Useful Tool for Communication in Home Health Care Services: A Cross-Sectional Study
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Background: Nurses providing home health care services are dependent on access to patient information and communicating with general practitioners (GPs) to deliver safe and effective health care to patients. Information and communication technology (ICT) systems are viewed as powerful tools for this purpose. In Norway, a standardized electronic messaging (e-messaging) system is currently being established in health care. Objective: The aim of this study was to explore home health care nurses’ assessments of the utility of the e-messaging system for communicating with GPs and identify elements that influence the assessment of e-messaging as a useful communication tool. Methods: The data were collected using a self-developed questionnaire based on variables identified by focus group interviews with home health care nurses (n=425) who used e-messaging and existing research. Data were analyzed using logistic regression analyses. Results: Over two-thirds (425/632, 67.2%) of the home health care nurses returned the questionnaire. A high proportion (388/399, 97.2%) of the home health care nurses who returned the questionnaire found the e-messaging system to be a useful tool for communication with GPs. The odds of reporting that e-messaging was a useful tool were over five times higher (OR 5.1, CI 2.489-10.631, P<.001) if the nurses agreed or strongly agreed that e-messaging was easy to use. The odds of finding e-messaging easy to use were nearly seven times higher (OR 6.9, CI 1.713-27.899, P=.007) if the nurses did not consider the system functionality poor. If the nurses had received training in the use of e-messaging, the odds were over six times higher (OR 6.6, CI 2.515-17.437, P<.001) that they would consider e-messaging easy to use. The odds that a home health care nurse would experience e-messaging as easy to use increased as the full-time equivalent percentage of the nurses increased (OR 1.032, CI 1.001-1.064, P=.045). Conclusions: This study has shown that technical (ease of use and system functionality), organizational (training), and individual (full-time equivalent percentage) elements had an impact on home health care nurses’ assessments of using e-messaging to communicate with GPs. By identifying these elements, it is easier to determine which interventions are the most important for the development and implementation of ICT systems in home health care services.