Aspects of technology that influence athletic trainers' current patient care documentation strategies in the secondary school

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Journal of Athletic Training


Context: Previous research on athletic trainers' (ATs) documentation practices in the secondary school setting has focused on users of 1 electronic medical record (EMR) platform. These studies have identified that ATs use multiple platforms for documentation, including paper, even when an EMR is available. Objective: To examine the documentation practices of ATs who use various forms of patient care documentation, including paper, EMRs, or both. Design: Qualitative study. Setting: Individual telephone interviews. Patients or Other Participants: Twenty ATs participated in this study: 12 women and 8 men who averaged 38 6 14 years of age, 15 6 13 years of clinical experience, and 11 6 11 years of employment at their current secondary school. Data Collection and Analysis: Semistructured telephone interviews were conducted to gain insight into ATs' documentation practices. Three researchers and 2 auditors inductively coded the transcripts using a consensual qualitative research process that consisted of 4 rounds of consensus coding and determination of data saturation. Trustworthiness was addressed with member checking, multiple-analyst triangulation, and peer review. Results: The ATs' documentation practices were largely influenced by technology, organized in 3 themes. Participants' current documentation strategies included the use of both paper and EMRs, as they found different benefits to using each platform. Oftentimes documentation practices were shaped by technological challenges, including unreliable networks, software design problems, and the lack of a streamlined approach. Lastly, participants identified future strategies for improving documentation, including the need for better EMR options and streamlining their individual documentation behaviors. Conclusions: Many ATs wanted to incorporate EMRs in their clinical practice but faced challenges when attempting to do so. In turn, clinicians often duplicated documentation or used 2 platforms. Athletic trainers should communicate with administrators to select an EMR that fits their documentation needs and seek resources, such as network access and educational opportunities, to learn how to use EMRs.

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