Information needs of clinicians and non-clinicians in the Emergency Department: a qualitative study

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Identifying the information needs of Emergency Department (ED) staff and sources of information that they use can help to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the ED. As Emergency Medicine has unique characteristics, information needs of the Emergency Department (ED) staff might be different from other settings. However, few studies have investigated the information needs of ED staff and the sources of information that they use.


We aimed to investigate the information needs of ED staff and the sources of information that they used in their practice.


It was a qualitative study, in which data were collected using semi-structured interviews and 34 ED staff were interviewed in total. To analyse data, the method of framework analysis was used.


Different types of information needs and sources of information were found in the ED. Patient information was considered the most important type of information, and verbal communication was the most frequently used source of information.


The variety of information used in the ED shows task complexity in this department which might not be simply addressed by technology. Further research is needed to identify how computerised information systems can be improved to meet users' information needs in the ED.

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