Healthcare professionals' organisational barriers to health information technologies-a literature review

Int J Med Inform. 2011 Dec;80(12):849-62. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2011.09.005. Epub 2011 Oct 13.


Objectives: This literature review identifies and categorises, from an organisational management perspective, barriers to the use of HIT or ICT for health. Based on the review, it offers policy interventions.

Methods: This systematic literature review was carried out during December 2009 and January 2010. Additional on-going reviews of updates through automated system alerts took place up until this paper was submitted. A total of thirty-one sources were searched including nine software platforms/databases, fifteen specialised websites/targeted databases, Google Scholar, ISI Science Citation Index and five journals hand-searched.

Results: The study covers seventy-nine articles on organisational barriers to ICT adoption by healthcare professionals. These are categorised under five main headings - (I) Structure of healthcare organisations; (II) Tasks; (III) People policies; (IV) Incentives; and (V) Information and decision processes. A total of ten subcategories are also identified. By adopting an organisational management approach, some recommendations to remove organisational management barriers are made.

Conclusions: Despite their apparent promise, health information technologies (HIT) have proved difficult to implement. This systematic review reveals the implementation barriers associated to organisational management and their interrelations. Several important future directions in the field are also suggested: (1) there is a need for further research providing evidence of HIT cost-effectiveness as well as the development of optimal HIT applications; (2) more information is needed regarding organisational change, incentives, liability issues, end-users HIT competences and skills, structure and work process issues involved in realising the benefits from HIT. Future policy interventions should consider the five dimensions identified when addressing the impact of HIT in healthcare organisational systems, and how the impact of an intervention aimed at a particular dimension would interrelate with others.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Computer Communication Networks / organization & administration*
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical / organization & administration*
  • Health Personnel / organization & administration*
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Medical Informatics
  • Professional Practice / organization & administration*
  • Professional Practice / statistics & numerical data