Barriers to use of information and computer technology by Australia’s nurses: a national survey

Eley, Robert, Fallon, Tony, Soar, Jeffrey, Buikstra, Elizabeth and Hegney, Desley G. (2009) Barriers to use of information and computer technology by Australia’s nurses: a national survey. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 18 8: 1151-1158. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2702.2008.02336.x

Author Eley, Robert
Fallon, Tony
Soar, Jeffrey
Buikstra, Elizabeth
Hegney, Desley G.
Title Barriers to use of information and computer technology by Australia’s nurses: a national survey
Journal name Journal of Clinical Nursing   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0962-1067
Publication date 2009-04
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2008.02336.x
Volume 18
Issue 8
Start page 1151
End page 1158
Total pages 8
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subject C1
920207 Health Policy Economic Outcomes
111099 Nursing not elsewhere classified
321199 Nursing not elsewhere classified
Formatted abstract
Aims and objectives. To support policy planning for health, the barriers to the use of health information and computer technology (ICT) by nurses in Australia were determined.

. Australia, in line with many countries, aims to achieve a better quality of care and health outcomes through effective and innovative use of health information. Nurses form the largest component of the health workforce. Successful adoption of ICT by nurses will be a requirement for success. No national study has been undertaken to determine the barriers to adoption.

A self-administered postal survey was conducted.

A questionnaire was distributed to 10,000 members of the Australian Nursing Federation. Twenty possible barriers to the use of health ICT uptake were offered and responses were given on a five point Likert scale.

Work demands, access to computers and lack of support were the principal barriers faced by nurses to their adoption of the technology in the workplace. Factors that were considered to present few barriers included age and lack of interest. While age was not considered by the respondents to be a barrier, their age was positively correlated with several barriers, including knowledge and confidence in the use of computers.

Results indicate that to use the information and computer technologies being brought into health care fully, barriers that prevent the principal users from embracing those technologies must be addressed. Factors such as the age of the nurse and their level of job must be considered when developing strategies to overcome barriers.

Relevance to clinical practice.
The findings of the present study provide essential information not only for national government and state health departments but also for local administrators and managers to enable clinical nurses to meet present and future job requirements.
Keyword Australia
information technologies
References Australian Bureau of Statistics (2001) 1216.0 Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC). ABS, Canberra. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2005) Nursing and Midwifery Labour Force 2003. AIHW, Canberra. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2006) Nursing and Midwifery Labour Force 2006. AIHW, Canberra. Chan T, Brew S & de Lusignan S (2004) Community nursing needs more silver surfers: a questionnaire survey of primary care nurses’ use of information technology. BMC Nursing 3, 4. Conrick M, Hovenga E, Cook R, Laracuente T & Morgan T (2004) A Framework for Nursing Informatics in Australia – A Strategic Paper. Department of Health and Ageing, Canberra. Available at: Australia_final%20Version1%5B1%5D.pdf (accessed 3 January 2008). Curtis E, Hicks P & Redmond R (2002) Nursing students experience and attitudes to computers: A survey of a cohort of students on a Bachelor in Nursing Studies course. ITIN 14, 7–17. Darbyshire P (2000) User-friendliness of computerised information systems. Computers in Nursing 18, 93–99. Edirippulige S (2005) Australian nurses’ perceptions of e-health. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare 11, 266–268. Eley R, Fallon T, Soar J, Buikstra E & Hegney D (2008) Training and education in information technology of Australia’s nurses: a national survey. Journal of Clinical Nursing 17, 2758–2767. Frantz AK (2001) Evaluating technology for success in home care. Caring 20, 10–12. Garde S, Harrison D, HuqueM& Hovenga E (2006) Building health informatics skills for health professionals: results from the Australian Health Informatics Skill Needs Survey. Australian Health Review 30, 34–45. Health Workforce Australia (2004) The Australian Nursing Workforce. Available at: au/amwac/info.html (accessed 21 November 2007). Hegney D, Plank A, Buikstra E, Parker V & Eley R (2005) Nurses Worth Listening to. A Report to the Queensland Nurses’ Union. University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba. Hillan EM, McGuire MM & Cooper M (1998) Computers in midwifery practice: a view from the labour ward. Journal of Advanced Nursing 27, 24–29. Ho J (2004) The Study of Queensland Nurses’ Attitude and Behaviour Towards Computerisation in the Workplace. Unpublished Master of Health Science, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton. Honey M (2004) Flexible learning for postgraduate nurses: a basis for planning. Nurse Education Today 24, 319–325. Hughes RA (2003) Clinical practice in a computer world: considering the issues. Journal of Advanced Nursing 42, 340–346. Klotz J & Reis J (2005) Exploring computer technology usage amongst remote area nurses in Australia: a preliminary analysis. In Proceedings of National Health Informatics Conference 2005 (Wise M, Grain H & Chu Seds). Health Informatics Society of Australia, East Brunswick. Leung GM, Yu PLH, Wong IOL, Johnston JM & Tin KYK (2003) Incentives and barriers that influence clinical computerization in Hong Kong: a population-based physician survey. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association 10, 201–212. Levy S & Williams B (1999) Attitudes to information technology: toys or tools? Nursing Standard Online 13, 1–13. Liu J, Pothiban L, Lu Z & Khamphonsiri T (2000) Computer knowledge, attitudes and skills of nurses in People’s Hospital of Beijing Medical University. Computers in Nursing 18, 197–206. National Health Information Advisory Council (2001) Health Online – A Health Information Action Plan for Australia. Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra. Available at: http://www. 91FA666CCA257128007B7EAF/$File/actplan2.pdf (accessed 3 January 2008). Nursix (2006) Nurses and NHS IT Developments. Results of an Online Survey by on Behalf of the Royal College of Nursing. Available at: nurses_and_nhs_it_dev.pdf (accessed 21 November 2007). Parish C (2000) Most nurses are denied access to the net at work. Nursing Standard 14, 4. Pascoe T, Hutchinson R, Foley E, Watts I, Whitecross L & Snowdon T (2007) The educational needs of nurses working in Australian general practice. The Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing 24, 33–37. Productivity Commission (2006) Australia’s Health Workforce. Research Report. Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra. Available at: (accessed 3 January 2008). Richardson S & Martin B (2004) The Care of Older Australians – A Picture of Residential the Aged Care Workforce. The National Institute of Labour Studies, Flinders University, Adelaide. Available at: Content/ageing-workforce-workforcerep.htm-copy2 (accessed 3 January 2008). Smedley A (2005) The importance of informatics competencies in nursing: an Australian perspective. Computers, Informatics, Nursing 23, 106–110. Stricklin M, Bierer S & Struk C (2003) Home care nurses’ attitudes toward computers: a confirmatory factor analysis of the Stronge and Brodt instrument. Computers, Informatics, Nursing 21, 103–111. Timmons S (2003) Nurses resisting information technology. Nursing Inquiry 10, 257–269. Turner A & Stavri Z (2003) A Digital Divide: Assessing the Information Needs and Use of Nurses from an Oregon County Public Health Department. Paper Presented at the 131st Annual Meeting of APHA, San Francisco, 14–20 November. Available at: paper_66713.htm (accessed 1 January 2008). Webster J, Davis J, Holt V, Stallan G, New K & Yegdich T (2003) Australian nurses and midwives knowledge of computers and their attitudes to using them in their practice. Journal of Advanced Nursing 41, 140–146. Yu P (2005) Residential Aged Care Workers’ Computer Skill Sets and Attitudes Toward Using Information System to Manage Care. University of Wollongong, Wollongong. Available at: http://www. (accessed 3 January 2008). Yu P & Comensoli N (2004) An exploration of the barriers to the adoption of information technology in Australian aged care industry. In Proceedings of National Health Informatics Conference 2004 (Walduck K, Cesnik B & Chu S eds). Health Informatics Society of Australia, East Brunswick.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work Publications
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 14 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 33 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Access Statistics: 747 Abstract Views  -  Detailed Statistics
Created: Tue, 05 May 2009, 13:46:17 EST by Vicki Percival on behalf of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work