Emerg Med J 30:303-307 doi:10.1136/emermed-2011-200446
  • Original article

What factors influence emergency department staff attitudes towards using information technology?

  1. Faheem A Khan6
  1. 1Department of Health Information Management, School of Health Management and Information Sciences, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  2. 2Centre for Health Information Management Research (CHIMR) and Health Informatics Research Group, Information School, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
  3. 3Health Services Research, School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
  4. 4Emergency Department, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester, UK
  5. 5Emergency Department, St. James's University Hospital, Leeds, UK
  6. 6Emergency Department, Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Barnsley, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Haleh Ayatollahi, Department of Health Information Management, School of Health Management and Information Sciences, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, No. 6, Rashid Yasemi st., Vali-e-asr Ave.,Tehran, Iran; h_ayatollahi{at}
  1. Contributors This study was undertaken by HA as part of a PhD study under the supervision of PB and SG. HA developed the initial framework and conducted the survey with the support of, and advice from, SG and PB. SYL, MD and FAK facilitated conducting the survey in the settings of the study. HA was also responsible for data analysis which was critically reviewed by PB and SG. The first draft of the paper was prepared by HA and the other authors all had input in developing the final text.

  • Accepted 4 April 2012
  • Published Online First 27 April 2012


Objectives Information technology (IT) has an important role in the emergency department (ED) functioning, but staff attitudes can influence the way IT is used. Qualitative research into the perceptions of the ED staff has identified a variety of individual, environmental and system factors that may influence attitudes towards using IT. The authors aimed to determine which factors predict attitudes towards using IT and which factors are the most influential.

Methods Findings from a previous qualitative study were used to develop a self-administered questionnaire measuring individual, environmental and system factors, along with staff attitudes towards using IT. The questionnaire was sent to 535 staff working in three English EDs. Simple linear regression was used to examine the relationship between each potential predictor and user attitude, and multiple regression was used to identify the most important predictors.

Results Completed questionnaires were returned by 362/535 participants (68%). The factors with the strongest positive association with staff attitudes towards using IT were the perceived individual impact of technology (r2=39%, p<0.001), perceived usefulness (r2=7%, p<0.001), perceived ease of use (r2=2%, p=0.006), perceived subjective norms (r2=1%, p=0.013) and computer experience (r2=1%, p=0.034).

Conclusion The perceived individual impact of technology is the most important factor in determining ED staff attitude towards using IT. The ED staff are more likely to view using IT systems positively if they can see direct individual benefits arising from their use.


  • Funding Ministry of Health and Medical Education of Iran.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval The ethics approval was provided by Research Ethics Committee in the Information School at the University of Sheffield.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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