Many physicians are transitioning from paper to electronic formats for billing, scheduling, medical charts, communications, etc. The primary objective of this research was to identify the relationship (if any) between the software selection process and the office staff's perceptions of the software's impact on practice activities.
A telephone survey was conducted with office representatives of 407 physician practices in Oregon who had purchased information technology. The respondents, usually office managers, answered scripted questions about their selection process and their perceptions of the software after implementation.
Multiple logistic regression revealed that software type, selection steps, and certain factors influencing the purchase were related to whether the respondents felt the software improved the scheduling and financial analysis practice activities. Specifically, practices that selected electronic medical record or practice management software, that made software comparisons, or that considered prior user testimony as important were more likely to have perceived improvements in the scheduling process than were other practices. Practices that considered value important, that did not consider compatibility important, that selected managed care software, that spent less than $10,000, or that provided learning time (most dramatic increase in odds ratio, 8.2) during implementation were more likely to perceive that the software had improved the financial analysis process than were other practices.
Perhaps one of the most important predictors of improvement was providing learning time during implementation, particularly when the software involves several practice activities. Despite this importance, less than half of the practices reported performing this step.