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Nurses as stakeholders in the adoption of mobile technology in Australian health care environments: interview study

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posted on 2023-05-20, 06:14 authored by Carey MatherCarey Mather, Elizabeth CummingsElizabeth Cummings, Frederick GaleFrederick Gale
Background: The 2017 Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) Strategy is based on the underlying assumption that digital technology in health care environments is ubiquitous. The ADHA Strategy views health professionals, especially nurses, as grappling with the complexity of installing and using digital technologies to facilitate personalized and sustainable person-centered care. Yet, ironically, the 2018 debate over how to enroll Australians into the national electronic health record system and its alteration from an opt-in to an opt-out model heightened public and professional concern over what constituted a “safe, seamless and secure” health information system. What can be termed a digital technology paradox has emerged where, although it is widely acknowledged that there are benefits from deploying and using digital technology in the workplace, the perception of risk renders it unavailable or inaccessible at point of care. The inability of nurses to legitimately access and use mobile technology is impeding the diffusion of digital technology in Australian health care environments and undermining the 2017 ADHA Strategy.

Objective: This study explored the nature and scope of usability of mobile technology at point of care, in order to understand how current governance structures impacted on access and use of digital technology from an organizational perspective.

Methods: Individual semistructured interviews were conducted with 6 representatives from professional nursing organizations. A total of 10 interview questions focused on factors that impacted the use of mobile technology for learning at point of care. Seven national organizations and 52 members from the Coalition of National Nursing and Midwifery Organisations were invited to participate. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data analysis was systematic and organized, consisting of trial coding; member checking was undertaken to ensure rigor. A codebook was developed to provide a framework for analysis to identify the themes latent in the transcribed data. Nurses as stakeholders emerged as a key theme.

Results: Out of 6 participants, 4 female (67%) and 2 male (33%) senior members of the nursing profession were interviewed. Each interview lasted between 17 and 54 minutes, which reflected the knowledge of participants regarding the topic of interest and their availability. Two subthemes, coded as ways of thinking and ways of acting, emerged from the open codes. Participants provided examples of the factors that impacted the capacity of nurses to adopt digital technology from an emic perspective. There were contributing factors that related to actions, including work-arounds, attentiveness, and experiences. Nurses also indicated that there were attitudes and influences that impacted thinking regarding access and use of mobile technology at point of care.

Conclusions: Nurses are inadequately prepared for the digital future that has now arrived in health care environments. Nurses do not perceive that they are leaders in decision making regarding digital technology adoption, nor are they able to facilitate digital literacy or model digital professionalism.


Publication title

JMIR Nursing

Article number









School of Nursing


JMIR Publications Inc.

Place of publication

Toronto, Canada

Rights statement

© Carey Mather, Elizabeth Cummings, Fred Gale. Originally published in JMIR Nursing Informatics, 01.08.2019. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Health education and promotion; Health policy evaluation; Nursing