INTRODUCTION: The aim of this study was to describe how Danish patients and their general practitioners (GPs) perceive physician's use of computers during consultation. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Data were collected between November 2006 and February 2007 at five primary care clinics. Nine GPs and 253 of their patients completed complementary questionnaires concerning the consultation as a whole and their perceptions of computer use during consultation. RESULTS: Patients were generally satisfied with their GP's use of computers during consultations. Compared to their practitioners, patients more often perceived computer use to be extensive. 28% of patients reported their GP's computer use as extensive. These patients more often reported discomfort with their GP's computer use (OR 1.09), or stated that they did not get help with the problem they most wanted solved (OR 0.83), compared with patients who perceived their GP's computer use as less extensive. Men (OR 2.21) and patients over 55 years of age (OR 2.45) were also overrepresented in this group. CONCLUSION: Overall, patients were satisfied with their consultations. Patients generally perceived computer use as more extensive than doctors did. Where patients perceived their GP's computer use as extensive, they tended to rate selected consultation quality indicators lower. Further study in this field of general practice is therefore needed.
Keywords: Adult; Aged; Attitude of Health Personnel; Attitude to Computers; Communication; Cross-Sectional Studies; Family Practice; Female; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Patient Satisfaction; Patients; Physician-Patient Relations; Physicians, Family; Questionnaires