Experiences of digital communication with automated patient interviews and asynchronous chat in Swedish primary care: a qualitative study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


OBJECTIVES: To explore staff experiences of working with a digital communication platform implemented throughout several primary healthcare centres in Sweden.

DESIGN: A descriptive qualitative approach using focus group interviews. Qualitative content analysis was used to code, categorise and thematise data.

SETTING: Primary healthcare centres across Sweden, in both rural and urban settings.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of three mixed focus groups, comprising 19 general practitioners and nurses with experience using a specific digital communication platform.

RESULTS: Five categories emerged: 'Fears and Benefits of Digital Communication', 'Altered Practice Workflow', 'Accepting the Digital Society', 'Safe and Secure for Patients' and 'Doesn't Suit Everyone and Everything'. These were abstracted into two comprehensive themes: 'Adjusting to a novel medium of communication' and 'Digitally filtered primary care', describing how staff experienced integrating the software as a useful tool for certain clinical contexts while managing the communication challenges associated with written communication.

CONCLUSIONS: Family medicine staff were ambivalent concerning the use of digital communication but, after a period of adjustment, it was seen as a useful communication tool especially when combined with continuity of care. Staff acknowledged limitations regarding use by inappropriate patient populations, information overload and misinterpretation of text by both staff and patients.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e036585
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jul 23
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.