Computer use in primary care practices in Canada

Yvonne Anisimowicz, Andrea E. Bowes, Ashley E. Thompson, Baukje Miedema, William E. Hogg, Sabrina T. Wong, Alan Katz, Fred Burge, Kris Aubrey-Bassler, Gregory S. Yelland, Walter P. Wodchis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the use of computers in primary care practices. Design: The international Quality and Cost of Primary Care study was conducted in Canada in 2013 and 2014 using a descriptive cross-sectional survey method to collect data from practices across Canada. Participating practices filled out several surveys, one of them being the Family Physician Survey, from which this study collected its data. Setting: All 10 Canadian provinces. Participants: A total of 788 family physicians. Main outcome measures: A computer use scale measured the extent to which family physicians integrated computers into their practices, with higher scores indicating a greater integration of computer use in practice. Analyses included t tests and χ2 tests comparing new and traditional models of primary care on measures of computer use and electronic health record (EHR) use, as well as descriptive statistics. Results: Nearly all (97.5%) physicians reported using a computer in their practices, with moderately high computer use scale scores (mean [SD] score of 5.97 [2.96] out of 9), and many (65.7%) reported using EHRs. Physicians with practices operating under new models of primary care reported incorporating computers into their practices to a greater extent (mean [SD] score of 6.55 [2.64]) than physicians operating under traditional models did (mean [SD] score of 5.33 [3.15]; t726.6o = 5.84; P <.001; Cohen d = 0.42, 95% CI 0.808 to 1.627) and were more likely to report using EHRs (73.8% vs 56.7%; χ21 = 25.43; P <.001; odds ratio = 2.15). Overall, there was a statistically significant variability in computer use across provinces. Conclusion: Most family physicians in Canada have incorporated computers into their practices for administrative and scholarly activities; however, EHRs have not been adopted consistently across the country. Physicians with practices operating under the new, more collaborative models of primary care use computers more comprehensively and are more likely to use EHRs than those in practices operating under traditional models of primary care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e284-e290
JournalCanadian Family Physician
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017


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