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Abstract

Objectives:  What does the publicly available literature tell us about the attitudes of health care staff to the development of information technology in practice, including the factors which influence them and the factors which may be used to change these attitudes?

Methods:  Twelve databases were searched for literature published between 2000 and 2005 that identified research related to information technology (IT), health professionals and attitude. English language studies were included which described primary research relating to the attitudes of one or more health care staff groups towards IT. Letters, personal viewpoints, reflections and opinion pieces were not included.

Results:  Complex factors contribute to the formation of attitudes towards IT. Many of the issues identified were around the flexibility of the systems and whether they were ‘fit for purpose’, along with the confidence and experience of the IT users. The literature suggests that attitudes of practitioners are a significant factor in the acceptance and efficiency of use of IT in practice. The literature also suggested that education and training was a factor for encouraging the use of IT systems.

Conclusions:  A range of key issues, such as the need for flexibility and usability, appropriate education and training and the need for the software to be ‘fit for purpose’, showed that organizations need to plan carefully when proposing the introduction of IT-based systems into work practices. The studies reviewed did suggest that attitudes of health care professionals can be a significant factor in the acceptance and efficiency of use of IT in practice. Further qualitative and quantitative research is needed into the approaches that have most effect on the attitudes of health care staff towards IT.