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A systematic review of the impact of health information technology on nurses' time

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Clare TolleyORCiD, Professor Sarah Slight



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Medical Informatics Association.OBJECTIVE: Nursing time represents one of the highest costs for most health services. We conducted a systematic review of the literature on the impact of health information technology on nurses' time. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We followed PRISMA guidelines and searched 6 large databases for relevant articles published between Jan 2004 and December 2019. Two authors reviewed the titles, abstracts, and full texts. We included articles that included a comparison group in the design, measured the time taken to carry out documentation or medication administration, documented the quantitative estimates of time differences between the 2, had nurses as subjects, and was conducted in either a care home, hospital, or community clinic. RESULTS: We identified a total of 1647 articles, of which 33 met our inclusion criteria. Twenty-one studies reported the impact of 12 different health information technology (HIT) implementations on nurses' documentation time. Weighted averages were calculated for studies that implemented barcode medication administration (BCMA) and 2 weighted averages for those that implemented EHRs, as these studies used different sampling units; both showed an increase in the time spent in documentation (+22% and +46%). However, the time spent carrying out medication administration following BCMA implementation fell by 33% (P < .05). HIT also caused a redistribution of nurses' time which, in some cases, was spent in more "value-adding" activities, such as delivering direct patient care as well as inter-professional communication. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Most of the HIT systems increased nursing documentation time, although time fell for medication administration following BCMA. Many HIT systems also resulted in nurses spending more time in direct care and "value-adding" activities.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Moore EC, Tolley CL, Bates DW, Slight SP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association : JAMIA

Year: 2020

Volume: 27

Issue: 5

Pages: 798-807

Online publication date: 06/03/2020

Acceptance date: 20/12/2019

Date deposited: 01/06/2020

ISSN (electronic): 1527-974X

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/jamia/ocz231

PubMed id: 32159770


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