Purpose: To investigate the circumstances as to why it is so difficult in the primary care sector to implement IT based infrastructures supporting shared care.
Case study: The qualitative analysis includes two separate case studies of IT-supported shared care implemented in two different regions of Denmark throughout 2005. The study comprises 21 interviews and 35 hours of observations. The data were analysed through a coding process that led to the emergence of three main challenges impeding the organisational implementation of ITsupported shared care.
Discussion and conclusion: The two cases faced the same challenges that led to the same problem: The secondary care sector quickly adopted the system while the primary sector was far more sceptical towards using it. In both cases, we observe a discrepancy of needs satisfied, especially with regard to the primary care sector and its general practitioners which hinder bridging the primary sector (general practitioners) and the secondary sector (hospitals and outpatient clinics). Especially the needs associated with the primary sector were not being satisfied. We discovered three main challenges related to bridging the gap between the two sectors: (1) Poor integration with the general practitioners’ existing IT systems; (2) low compatibility with general practitioners’ work ethic; (3) and discrepancy between the number of diabetes patients and the related need for shared care. We conclude that development of IT-supported shared care must recognise the underlying and significant differences between the primary and secondary care sectors: If IT-supported shared care does not meet the needs of the general practitioners as well as the needs of the secondary care sector the initiative will fail.