Human resource information systems in health care: a systematic evidence review

J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2017 May 1;24(3):633-654. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocw141.


Objective: This systematic review aimed to: (1) determine the prevalence and scope of existing research on human resource information systems (HRIS) in health organizations; (2) analyze, classify, and synthesize evidence on the processes and impacts of HRIS development, implementation, and adoption; and (3) generate recommendations for HRIS research, practice, and policy, with reference to the needs of different stakeholders.

Methods: A structured search strategy was used to interrogate 10 electronic databases indexing research from the health, social, management, technology, and interdisciplinary sciences, alongside gray literature sources and reference lists of qualifying studies. There were no restrictions on language or publication year. Two reviewers screened publications, extracted data, and coded findings according to the innovation stages covered in the studies. The Critical Appraisal Skills Program checklist was adopted to assess study quality. The process of study selection was charted using a Preferred Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) diagram.

Results: Of the 6824 publications identified by the search strategy, 68, covering 42 studies, were included for final analysis. Research on HRIS in health was interdisciplinary, often atheoretical, conducted primarily in the hospital sector of high-income economies, and largely focused uncritically on use and realized benefits.

Discussion and conclusions: While studies of HRIS in health exist, the overall lack of evaluative research raises unanswered questions about their capacity to improve quality and efficiency and enable learning health systems, as well as how sociotechnical complexity influences implementation and effectiveness. We offer this analysis to decision makers and managers considering or currently implementing an HRIS, and make recommendations for further research.

Trial registration: International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO): CRD42015023581. .

Keywords: eHealth; health care management; human resource information systems; information systems; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Personnel*
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Management Information Systems*
  • Personnel Management