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Experiences of digital communication with automated patient interviews and asynchronous chat in Swedish primary care: a qualitative study
  1. Artin Entezarjou,
  2. Beata Borgström Bolmsjö,
  3. Susanna Calling,
  4. Patrik Midlöv,
  5. Veronica Milos Nymberg
  1. Department of Clinical Sciences Malmö, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Dr Artin Entezarjou; artin.entezarjou{at}


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.

  • telemedicine
  • primary care
  • information technology
  • biotechnology & bioinformatics
  • organisation of health services

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Contributors AE, VMN, SC and PM conceptualised the study. AE and VMN conducted data collection. AE, VMN and BBB contributed to analysis of the results. All authors contributed to the preparation of the manuscript.

  • Funding This study was funded by the Thelma Zoéga's fund and Region Skåne to Artin Entezarjou and funding from ALF and Region Skåne to Susanna Calling. Funders had no role in data collection, interpretation or reporting.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The study was approved by the Swedish Ethical Review Authority (reference number 2019–01516).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request. Interview transcripts and coding data is available upon request.

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