Prioritizing the risk factors influencing the success of clinical information system projects. A Delphi study in Canada

Methods Inf Med. 2008;47(3):251-9.


Objective: The aim of this study is to gain a better understanding of the risk factors influencing the success of clinical information system projects.

Methods: This study addresses this issue by first reviewing the extant literature on information technology project risks, and second conducting a Delphi survey among 21 experts highly involved in clinical information system projects in Québec, Canada, a region where government have invested heavily in health information technologies in recent years.

Results: Twenty-three risk factors were identified. The absence of a project champion was the factor that experts felt most deserves their attention. Lack of commitment from upper management was ranked second. Our panel of experts also confirmed the importance of a variable that has been extensively studied in information systems, namely, perceived usefulness that ranked third. Respondents ranked project ambiguity fourth. The fifth-ranked risk was associated with poor alignment between the clinical information systems' characteristics and the organization of clinical work. The large majority of risk factors associated with the technology itself were considered less important. This finding supports the idea that technology-associated factors rarely figure among the main reasons for a project failure.

Conclusions: In addition to providing a comprehensive list of risk factors and their relative importance, the study presents a major contribution by unifying the literature on information systems and medical informatics. Our checklist provides a basis for further research that may help practitioners identify the effective countermeasures for mitigating risks associated with the implementation of clinical information systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Data Collection
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical / organization & administration*
  • Delphi Technique
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Hospital Information Systems / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Program Development
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Management
  • Software