A Qualitative Analysis of Emergency Department Nurses’ Perceptions of the Effects of an Integrated Clinical Information System

Nerida Creswick, Joanne Callen, Julie Li, Andrew Georgiou, Grant Isedale, Louise Robertson, Richard Paoloni, Johanna I Westbrook


It is essential for emergency department (ED) nurses to efficiently access and record patient information in order to provide treatment to patients, communicate with other health professionals and manage patient flow. Electronic clinical information systems can facilitate improved information access, however few studies have examined whether this potential is being realised, particularly by nurses. This study aimed to explore whether information and communication technology (ICT) improved information access for ED nurses and the impact nurses perceived this had on how they carried out their work. Within a socio-technical framework, a qualitative study design was employed using semistructured interviews (n=4) and a focus group (n=7) at one Australian metropolitan public hospital ED. The results presented relate to nurses’ perceptions of the impact of the technology on one of the themes elicited from the data, namely ‘access to information’. Nurses reported that the integrated ED clinical information system made it easier for them to access information, such as test results and previous electronic discharge summaries which had positive effects on patient care and on their roles. This study highlighted the value of technology in facilitating increased volume and improved ease of access to clinical, patient flow-related, knowledge-based and administrative information supporting ED nurses in practicing evidence-based nursing. It reduces the need for unnecessary interruptions of other clinical staff and allows nurses to take on extended roles in patient management.


Emergency Nursing; Emergency Service; Hospital Information Systems; Qualitative Research; Interview; Focus Groups

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