Understanding the dynamics of information technology implementation: a study of clinical information systems.


Health care institutions are considering a variety of emerging information technologies (ITs) in the hope of increasing efficiency, reducing costs, re-engineering work processes, and improving quality of care. The recent, rapid advances made in the use of innovative ITs in the health care field can present a plethora of problems to the administrative staff. Perhaps the most pressing of these concerns is the ability of today's hospitals to effectively create and utilize computer-based information systems. IT implementation has long been of great interest for information systems researchers. This branch of information system study seeks to identify those factors that are integral to optimizing the usage of IT. For example, researchers have advised practitioners that managerial support, high quality system design, commitment to advancing with the field, and extensive project planning are all key elements of successful system. In sum, previous research has produced a set of managerial proscriptions which, taken as a whole, constitute the "ideal" way to implement an IT system. Yet despite these normative principles and proscriptions, many health care institutions continue to find their attempts to make use of IT fraught with difficulty. Therefore, the objective of this study is to broaden and edify our understanding of IT implementation. More specifically, we seek to dispel the myth of the "ideal" system setup by exploring some of the alternative systems in use. We wish to investigate how and why the components of these alternative systems interact to produce utilization success (or failure). The study investigates the establishment and subsequent use of three clinical information systems (CIS) in a large tertiary care teaching hospital. The first case study is that of the hospital-wide implementation of a computer system that allows physicians to sign their medical records electronically. The second case examines the use of an electronic patient chart used to support the work of a variety of clinicians. Finally, we study a nursing assessment system used by two groups of nurses (intensive care unit and resuscitation unit) at a state-of-the-art, newly established Trauma Center. Qualitative was gathered through semi-structured interviews with people involved in the implementation process as well as a sample of user representatives. More than 90 interviews were conducted over a period of six months. Observational data completed our qualitative assessment. Quantitative evidence was gathered through questionnaires administered to a small sample of key informants. Three techniques of qualitative data analysis are being used in combination, namely, coding, analytical memos and displays. Data analysis is still in its infancy at this point. Regarding its relevance to the role of the administrator, this study will allow general and health care management as well as IT professionals to gain insight into the dynamics of the implementation of innovative technologies. In other words, results from this study will provide clear and relevant answers to the questions of how and why the outcome of the information system project is influenced by the way in which the technology is introduced.


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@article{Par1995UnderstandingTD, title={Understanding the dynamics of information technology implementation: a study of clinical information systems.}, author={Guy Par{\'e} and Joyce J. Elam}, journal={Medinfo. MEDINFO}, year={1995}, volume={8 Pt 1}, pages={544} }