The challenges of real-world implementation of web-based shared care software: the HopSCOTCH Shared-Care Obesity Trial in Children

Lycett, Kate, Wittert, Gary, Gunn, Jane, Hutton, Cathy, Clifford, Susan A and Wake, Melissa 2014, The challenges of real-world implementation of web-based shared care software: the HopSCOTCH Shared-Care Obesity Trial in Children, BMC medical informatics and decision making, vol. 14, pp. 1-8, doi: 10.1186/1472-6947-14-61.

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Title The challenges of real-world implementation of web-based shared care software: the HopSCOTCH Shared-Care Obesity Trial in Children
Author(s) Lycett, KateORCID iD for Lycett, Kate
Wittert, Gary
Gunn, Jane
Hutton, Cathy
Clifford, Susan A
Wake, Melissa
Journal name BMC medical informatics and decision making
Volume number 14
Article ID 61
Start page 1
End page 8
Total pages 8
Publisher BioMed Central
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2014
ISSN 1472-6947
Keyword(s) Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Medical Informatics
Patient care team
Electronic health records
Pediatric obesity
Primary health care
Tertiary healthcare
Summary E-health initiatives hold promise to improve shared-care models of health care. In 2008–2011 we developed and trialled web-based software to facilitate a randomised trial of a shared-care approach for childhood obesity involving General Practitioners (GPs) working with tertiary specialists. We describe the software’s development, implementation and evaluation, and make recommendations for future e-health initiatives. The web-based software was designed with the goals of allowing both GPs and specialists to communicate and review patient progress; integrating with existing GP software; and supporting GPs to deliver the structured intervention. Specifically, we aimed to highlight the challenges inherent in this process, and report on the extent to which the software ultimately met its implementation and user aims.MethodsThe study was conducted at the Royal Children’s Hospital and 22 general practices across Melbourne, Australia. Participants comprised 30 GPs delivering the shared-care intervention. Outcomes included the following. (1) GPs’ pre-specified software requirements: transcribed from two focus groups and analysed for themes using content analysis. (2) Software implementation and performance based on the experience of the research team and GPs. (3) GP users’ evaluation collected via questionnaire. (4) Software usage collected via GP questionnaire and qualified through visual inspection of the software meta-data.ResultsSoftware implementation posed difficult and at times disabling technological barriers (e.g. out-dated hardware, poor internet connections). The software’s speed and inability to seamlessly link with day-to-day software was a source of considerable frustration. Overall, GPs rated software usability as poor, although most (68%) felt that the structure and functionality of the software was useful. Recommendations for future e-health initiatives include thorough scoping of IT systems and server speed, testing across diverse environments, automated pre-requisite checks and upgrades of processors/memory where necessary, and user-created usernames and passwords.ConclusionsGPs are willing to embrace novel technologies to support their practice. However, implementation remains challenging mainly for technical reasons, and this precludes further evaluation of potential user-specific barriers. These findings could inform future e-health ventures into shared-care, and highlight the need for an appropriate infrastructure.Trial registrationAustralian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN126080000553.
Language eng
DOI 10.1186/1472-6947-14-61
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 0806 Information Systems
1103 Clinical Sciences
0909 Geomatic Engineering
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2014, Lycett et al
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