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In many countries nurses lack an adequate tool to assist in determining the essentials of an information policy in health care institutions and to outline the nursing component of the electronic patient record. In the United States criteria exist for systems that support the nursing process and for the electronic patient record, and the United Kingdom has the disposal of an Information Management and Technology Strategy that includes nursing information. The objective of this study was to determine international criteria for nursing information systems when such systems become part of the electronic patient record. Using the Delphi methodology, criteria for nursing information systems development, content, structure, and use are established by an international panel of 36 experts in three succeeding rounds. Most criteria gained consensus and are useful for application in practice for development of information policy and information systems for nursing. Eventually, the list of criteria will be included in a nursing information reference model. Nursing will benefit from the application of the reference model and the criteria to develop adequate information and communication technology.