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Open Access Research article

Staff experiences within the implementation of computer-based nursing records in residential aged care facilities: a systematic review and synthesis of qualitative research

Anne Meißner* and Wilfried Schnepp

Author Affiliations

Department of Nursing Science, University Witten/Herdecke, Witten, Germany

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BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2014, 14:54  doi:10.1186/1472-6947-14-54

Published: 20 June 2014

Abstract

Background

Since the introduction of electronic nursing documentation systems, its implementation in recent years has increased rapidly in Germany. The objectives of such systems are to save time, to improve information handling and to improve quality. To integrate IT in the daily working processes, the employee is the pivotal element. Therefore it is important to understand nurses’ experience with IT implementation. At present the literature shows a lack of understanding exploring staff experiences within the implementation process.

Methods

A systematic review and meta-ethnographic synthesis of primary studies using qualitative methods was conducted in PubMed, CINAHL, and Cochrane. It adheres to the principles of the PRISMA statement. The studies were original, peer-reviewed articles from 2000 to 2013, focusing on computer-based nursing documentation in Residential Aged Care Facilities.

Results

The use of IT requires a different form of information processing. Some experience this new form of information processing as a benefit while others do not. The latter find it more difficult to enter data and this result in poor clinical documentation. Improvement in the quality of residents’ records leads to an overall improvement in the quality of care. However, if the quality of those records is poor, some residents do not receive the necessary care. Furthermore, the length of time necessary to complete the documentation is a prominent theme within that process. Those who are more efficient with the electronic documentation demonstrate improved time management. For those who are less efficient with electronic documentation the information processing is perceived as time consuming. Normally, it is possible to experience benefits when using IT, but this depends on either promoting or hindering factors, e.g. ease of use and ability to use it, equipment availability and technical functionality, as well as attitude.

Conclusions

In summary, the findings showed that members of staff experience IT as a benefit when it simplifies their daily working routines and as a burden when it complicates their working processes. Whether IT complicates or simplifies their routines depends on influencing factors. The line between benefit and burden is semipermeable. The experiences differ according to duties and responsibilities.

Keywords:
Electronic health record; Health information technology; Computer; Technology adoption; Satisfaction; Long-term-care; Benefit and costs; Cost benefit analysis; Net benefit; Information system success; Attitude