Athletic trainers' perceptions of and barriers to patient care documentation: A report from the athletic training practice-based research network

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Journal of Athletic Training


Context: For the practice characteristics of the services athletic trainers (ATs) provide to be identified, all ATs must complete high-quality patient care documentation. However, little is known about ATs' perceptions of patient care documentation or the potential barriers they may encounter while trying to ensure high-quality documentation. Objective: To explore ATs' perceptions of and barriers to patient care documentation via the Clinical Outcomes Research Education for Athletic Trainers (CORE-AT) electronic medical record system in the secondary school setting. Design: Qualitative study. Setting: Individual telephone interviews. Patients or Other Participants: We interviewed 10 ATs (4 men, 6 women; age = 32.6 6 11.4 years, athletic training experience=7.1 6 7.8 years) who were members of the Athletic Training Practice-Based Research Network (AT-PBRN) and employed in the secondary school setting. Data Collection and Analysis: We conducted an individual interview with each participant. After transcription of the interviews, the data were analyzed into common themes and categories following the consensual qualitative research tradition. Data triangulation occurred through member checking and multiple researchers to ensure accuracy during data analysis. Results: Participants revealed several perceptions of patient care documentation, consisting of quality, expectations and accountability, priority, incentive, and culture of the secondary school setting. In addition, we identified barriers to quality patient care documentation: lack of time, lack of accountability for documenting patient care, inadequate facility resources, and lack of personnel. Participants discussed the volume of patients as a unique challenge in the secondary school setting. Conclusions: Whereas ATs perceived patient care documentation as important, several practical barriers may inhibit their ability to complete high-quality documentation of the services they provide. Effective strategies to improve the quality of patient care documentation among ATs are needed to ensure that their value, particularly in the secondary school setting, is accurately characterized.

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