J Am Med Inform Assoc 17:637-645 doi:10.1136/jamia.2010.004838
  • Review

A review on systematic reviews of health information system studies

  1. Jesse Gardner1
  1. 1School of Health Information Science, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  2. 2Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3Department of Family Practice, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Professor Francis Lau, School of Health Information Science, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada V8W3P5; email: fylau{at}
  • Received 6 April 2010
  • Accepted 31 August 2010


The purpose of this review is to consolidate existing evidence from published systematic reviews on health information system (HIS) evaluation studies to inform HIS practice and research. Fifty reviews published during 1994–2008 were selected for meta-level synthesis. These reviews covered five areas: medication management, preventive care, health conditions, data quality, and care process/outcome. After reconciliation for duplicates, 1276 HIS studies were arrived at as the non-overlapping corpus. On the basis of a subset of 287 controlled HIS studies, there is some evidence for improved quality of care, but in varying degrees across topic areas. For instance, 31/43 (72%) controlled HIS studies had positive results using preventive care reminders, mostly through guideline adherence such as immunization and health screening. Key factors that influence HIS success included having in-house systems, developers as users, integrated decision support and benchmark practices, and addressing such contextual issues as provider knowledge and perception, incentives, and legislation/policy.


  • An initial version of this review was presented at the 11th International Symposium of Health Information Management Research held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in fall of 2006.

  • Funding Support for this review was provided by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Canada Health Infoway and the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia.

  • Competing interests None.

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

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