Original Research

Critical success factors to improve data quality of electronic medical records in public healthcare institutions

Noloyiso Makeleni, Liezel Cilliers
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 23, No 1 | a1230 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v23i1.1230 | © 2021 Noloyiso Makeleni, Liezel Cilliers | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 April 2020 | Published: 03 March 2021

About the author(s)

Noloyiso Makeleni, Department of Information Systems, Faculty of Management and Commerce, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa
Liezel Cilliers, Department of Information Systems, Faculty of Management and Commerce, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa

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Background: Electronic medical record (EMR) systems have been identified as having the potential to improve healthcare and allow the healthcare sector to reap a number of benefits when implemented successfully. However, problems with the data quality of EMRs are often reported as barriers to successful implementation of these systems.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate the critical success factors that can improve the data quality of EMRs in public healthcare institutions in the North West province of South Africa.

Method: This study utilised data quality framework (DQF) as a lens to collect qualitative data through interviews with seven nurses and one information technology specialist chosen through purposive sampling. The interview guide was developed using the DQF.

Results: The data quality of EMRs is influenced by the six data quality dimensions of the DQF, namely, completeness, consistency, conformity, accuracy, integrity and timeliness. Therefore, it is important that healthcare workers understand the five factors identified in this study in order to ensure good-quality data in EMRs.

Conclusion: This study recommends that public healthcare institutions should consider using the DQF to improve the quality of patient data, which is documented in EMRs. Implementing the DQF may ensure that the healthcare workers follow the correct standards of documenting patient data, which are accurate, complete, consistent and timely, conforming to the appropriate standards and with integrity.


electronic health records; electronic medical records; public healthcare; health information systems; South African healthcare. Introduction


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