Dissertation Abstract

Factors For Information Technology Innovation Diffusion and Infusion in Health Sciences Organizations: A Systems Approach

Publication Number:  AAT9724464
Author:  Ash, Joan Stevenson
School:  Portland State University
Date:  1997
Pages:  231
Subject:  Management, Health Care, Information Systems, Information Technology, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation--Cpr, Electronic Mail Systems

Improving information technology systems in health care can contribute to improving the health of the nation. The present study has as its aim the elucidation of important factors which can maximize this contribution. This innovation diffusion study adopts a multiple perspectives/systems approach to investigate these factors.

Innovation, organizational, and boundary-spanning factors were assessed using a mail survey sent to 1,335 individuals at 67 academic health sciences centers. These factors, represented by attribute sets, were related to the extent of internal diffusion (breadth) and infusion (depth) of use of online end user literature searching (online), the computer-based patient record (CPR), and electronic mail (Email).

The response rate was 41%, with 65 institutions represented. Email follow-up increased the original response by 53%. Data were analyzed using multivariate techniques. Results indicated that innovation attributes predict well for diffusion and infusion except for infusion of the CPR. Organizational attributes significantly influence diffusion of the CPR and boundary-spanning influences diffusion of Email.

Within sets of variables, visibility was most often significant (for infusion of each innovation and for diffusion of online). Other significant variables were: personal image enhancement effects (negative in relation to infusion of online), result demonstrability (related to infusion of online), ease of use (negative in relation to infusion of Email), participative decision making (in relation to diffusion of the CPR), planning (negative in relation to diffusion of the CPR), and generation of marketing intelligence (related to diffusion of Email).

The average infusion rating for all institutions was highest for online (3.73 on a 1 to 4 scale). The average diffusion score for online was only 2.27 out of 4. For the CPR, infusion had an average of 2.22 and diffusion was 2.72. Email was quite high on infusion and diffusion, at 3.70 and 2.91 respectively.

Because the dependent variables were not correlated, future diffusion studies should include both measures. Also, results for each innovation differed, indicating that innovations should be studied individually. Finally, information technology managers should be aware of the importance of organizational and marketing variables during implementation.

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