A SYSTEMATIC literature review of the uptake of eHealth has been published by the Interactive Journal of Medical Research.
The review aims to identify the key factors influencing the adoption of eHealth by health care providers.
eHealth is the application of communication and information technologies across health related areas in order to improve both operational efficiency in the provision of health care and the quality of patient care.
It is an emerging field at the crossroads of business, public health and the dynamics of medical knowledge and information.
Health care providers are the key drivers in advancing eHealth initiatives.
But beneficial change does not occur with the implementation of technology alone. It often requires the remodelling of work flow and job design across interconnected health professionals and processes.
A culture resistant to change and a lack of organisational adaptability can limit the adoption process. Effective eHealth uptake also requires sufficient motivational drivers for health care innovation.
The study located 93 relevant articles and extracted key information from those papers. It proceeded to identify and analyse significant factors in the acceptance of eHealth by health care providers.
Forty factors were identified and these were grouped into seven clusters:
- Health care provider characteristics
- Medical practice characteristics
- Voluntariness of use
- Performance expectancy (e.g. perceived usefulness)
- Effort expectancy (e.g. perceived ease of use and complexity)
- Social influence
- Facilitating or inhibiting conditions.
It is hoped the study will help decision makers better understand key issues surrounding the adoption of eHealth and better facilitate health innovation through more informed interventions.
The review also found that an extension of theories on information technology adoption would be of great benefit to those interested in the field.