Adoption and use of electronic healthcare information systems to support clinical care in public hospitals of the Western Cape, South Africa
Ogundaini, Oluwamayowa Oaikhena
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In the Western Cape, South Africa, despite the prospective benefits that e-Health information systems (e-Health IS) offer to support the healthcare sector; there are limitations in terms of usability, functionality and peculiar socio-technical factors. Thus, healthcare professionals do not make the most use of the implemented e-Health IS. Unfortunately, explanations remain tentative and unclear, yet non-usage of the e-Health IS defeats the objectives of its adoption, in the sense that the plan to improve and deliver quality healthcare service in the public sector may not be achieved as envisaged. The aim of the study was to acquire explanations to the causes of the limitations regarding the adoption and, particularly, the use (or non-use) of e-Health IS by clinical staff in the public healthcare institutions in South Africa. The choice of research approach was informed by the research problem, objectives, and the main research question. By the reasons of the subjective and socio-technical nature of the phenomenon, a deductive approach was adopted for this investigation. The nominalist ontology and interpretivist epistemology positions were taken by the researcher as a lens to conduct this research; which informed a qualitative methodology for this investigation. The purposive sampling technique was used to identify the appropriate participants from different hospital levels consisting of Hospital Administrative staff, and Clinical staff (Clinicians and Nurses) of relative experiences in their clinical units. Subsequently, the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) and content analysis technique were used to contextualize, simplify, and analysis the text data transcripts. The findings indicate that healthcare professionals have a high level of awareness and acceptance to use implemented e-Health IS. There are positive perceptions on the expected outcomes, that e-Health IS would improve processes and enhance healthcare services delivery in the public healthcare sector. Also, findings indicate that social influence plays a vital role especially on the willingness of individuals (or groups); as the clinical staff are influenced by their colleagues despite the facilitating conditions provided by the hospital management. Further, findings indicate that it is somewhat problematic to maintain balance in running a parallel paper-electronic system in the hospital environment. Hence, the core factors that influence successful adoption and use of e-Health IS include; willingness of an individual (or group) to accept and use a technology, the performance expectancy, social influence among professionals in the healthcare scenery and adequate facilitating conditions. In summary, it is recommended that there should be an extensive engagement inclusive of all respective stakeholders involved in the adoption processes. This would ensure that e-Health IS are designed to meet both practical organizational and clinical needs (and expectations) with respect to the hospital contexts.