In light of plans to implement an electronic patient record (EPR), preparations for radical organizational change were recognized as being critical to success. The aim of the study was to determine hospital staff's experience of and attitudes toward computer use and the EPR. A cross-sectional design using the Computer and EPR Attitude Survey was administered to 878 health service employees in two acute hospitals; 479 completed questionnaires were returned, representing a 54 per cent response rate. The majority of respondents demonstrated positive attitudes toward the use of computers and the EPR, although only 298 (62%) wrote that they knew what 'EPR' actually stood for. Nurses consistently recorded the greatest agreement with negative statements: 'I avoid using computers whenever I can,' 'Using a computer is more trouble than it is worth,' and 'I sometimes feel intimidated by the thought of using a computer.' Recommendations centre on responsive and prompt actions, e.g. informative workshops and targeted skills training. Copyright © 2004 SAGE Publications.