Use of standardized terminologies in clinical practice: a scoping review

Orna Fennelly, Loretto Grogan, Angela Reed, Nicholas Hardiker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To explore the use and impact of standardized terminologies (STs) within nursing and midwifery practice. Introduction: The standardization of clinical documentation creates a potential to optimize patient care and safety. Nurses and midwives, who represent the largest proportion of the healthcare workforce worldwide, have been using nursing-specific and multidisciplinary STs within electronic health records (EHRs) for decades. However, little is known regarding ST use and impact within clinical practice. Methods: A scoping review of the literature was conducted (2019) across PubMed, CINAHL, Embase and CENTRAL in collaboration with the Five Country Nursing and Midwifery Digital Leadership Group (DLG). Identified studies (n = 3547) were reviewed against a number of agreed criterion, and data were extracted from included studies. Studies were categorized and findings were reviewed by the DLG. Results: One hundred and eighty three studies met the inclusion criteria. These were conducted across 25 different countries and in various healthcare settings, utilising mainly nursing-specific (most commonly NANDA-I, NIC, NOC and the Omaha System) and less frequently local, multidisciplinary or medical STs (e.g., ICD). Within the studies, STs were evaluated in terms of Measurement properties, Usability, Documentation quality, Patient care, Knowledge generation, and Education (pre and post registration). As well as the ST content, the impact of the ST on practice depended on the healthcare setting, patient cohort, nursing experience, provision of education and support in using the ST, and usability of EHRs. Conclusion: Employment of STs in clinical practice has the capability to improve communication, quality of care and interoperability, as well as facilitate value-based healthcare and knowledge generation. However, employment of several different STs and study heterogeneity renders it difficult to aggregate and generalize findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104431
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Informatics
Early online date25 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Use of standardized terminologies in clinical practice: a scoping review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this