Journal Article

Exploring the challenges of using electronic health record systems in nursing research


Background. Electronic health records (EHRs) provide an interesting potential data set for nursing research. However, they can present challenges when collecting data, as EHR systems are not designed with research in mind. Aim. To present an example of collecting data using EHRs that was conducted as part of a study of the role of the school nurse in safeguarding children. Discussion. Data were successfully obtained from EHR systems to understand school nursing caseloads and interventions with vulnerable children and young people. Major limitations included variances in EHR systems, such as different nomenclature for interventions. These limitations were addressed by reviewing organisational guidance on record-keeping and through a working knowledge of the different EHR systems. Conclusion. Conducting research using EHRs has provided important learning about the potential of this type of data and the promise they hold for future research. Implications. for practice Organisations willing for existing data to be used in research might consider embedding pathways for collecting data that are easy for potential researchers to navigate. EHR systems need to be sensitive to research, but not at the expense of efficiency in clinical practice.

Attached files


Harding, Lauren
Bekaert, Sarah
Appleton, Jane

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Midwifery, Community and Public Health
Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development


Year of publication: 2020
Date of RADAR deposit: 2020-05-01

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