A thematic analysis of health information technology use among cancer genetic counselors.J Genet Couns. 2020 Jul 08 [Online ahead of print]JG
As precision medicine becomes a mainstay in health care, the use of health information technology (IT) platforms will play an important role in the delivery of services across the cancer care continuum. Currently, there is both limited understanding about perceptions of health IT tools and barriers to their use among cancer genetic counselors. We assessed open-ended responses from a survey conducted among 128 board-certified cancer genetic counselors in the United States. We evaluated the utility of ten health IT tools and perceived barriers to adoption. Responses about characteristics of health IT tools that influence current use (i.e., technology-specific challenges) were deductively analyzed using the diffusion of innovations (DOI) characteristics. Responses about cancer genetic counselors' perceived challenges to adopting health IT tools (i.e., discipline-specific challenges) were inductively coded using a thematic approach. DOI innovation characteristics included mixed perceptions about the relative advantage, complexity, compatibility, trialability, and observability of tools based on the type of tool and perceived end-user. One-third of participants indicated that they were considering adopting or switching health IT tools. Common barriers to adoption included no perceived need for change, lack of organizational infrastructure, cost, and lack of decision-making power. Our findings indicate that addressing barriers to use and adoption of health IT may allow for expansion of these tools among cancer genetic counselors. Integrating health IT is critical for enhancing cancer genetic counselors' capacity to address patient needs and realizing the potential of precision medicine.