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Title: The applicability of the technology acceptance model to doctors in the Maltese public health care system.
Authors: Abela, Stephen
Keywords: Medical care -- Malta
Medicine -- Data processing
Medical informatics
Information technology
Issue Date: 2005
Citation: Abela S. (2005). The applicability of the technology acceptance model to doctors in the Maltese public health care system (Master's dissertation).
Abstract: Information Technology (IT) plays a key role in the implementation of major reforms in healthcare. Such strategic plans demand that healthcare employees have a good knowledge of IT and are ready to integrate the use of computers at their work. However physicians may not necessarily realise the potential benefits and may not choose to adopt IT in clinical practice. Over the last two decades several researchers have investigated the psychological theories underlying technology acceptance. The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), developed by Fred Davis in 1989, identified the constructs of Perceived Ease of Use (PEOU) and Perceived Usefulness (PU) as predictors of Usage and Acceptance. The research has been applied to doctors and other healthcare professionals. The aim of this research was to investigate the applicability of the TAM to Doctors in the Maltese Public Healthcare System. The study population consisted of doctors employed within the Public Healthcare System that was sampled using a randomized stratified technique. The six categories included House Officers, Senior House Officers, Registrars/Senior Registrars, Consultants, Doctors in Public Health and Primary Care. A postal survey based on Davis' instrument was used to collect the data. Information on Computer Usage, Patient Administration System (PAS) Usage and Satisfaction with the PAS were also incorporated in the questionnaire. A focus group discussion was subsequently conducted to obtain qualitative information and a more in-depth understanding of the reasons why doctors would resist adopting IT and the PAS. There were 195 returned questionnaires out of the 324 mailed invitations (response rate of 60.19%). Age characteristics showed a more equal representation of male and female doctors (56 vs 44%) in the younger age group than in the older age categories. Computer availability was higher for consultants (61.4%) and for doctors in public health (100%), but was limited for junior doctors working at ward level (8.1 %). Decreased availability of computers was noticeable in primary care (20.8%), at peripheral hospitals (14.3-33%) and at out-patients departments (31 % for consultants). Junior doctors and Primary Care doctors showed less ownership of e-mail accounts (64.9% and 54.2%) and Internet access (32.4% and 33.3%). With regards to IT qualification, junior doctors were more likely to have had IT accreditation. The applicability of the Technology Acceptance Model was tested using Linear Regression. It was found that the constructs of PEOU and PU predicted which doctors were more likely to use computers at their job. However increased computer usage did not antecede PAS Adoption. Likewise Satisfaction with the PAS did not predict PAS Adoption, which indicated that other factors were contributing to its lack of popularity. Analysis of the data from the focus group identified that the PAS was now an old system that needed upgrading. It was found that doctors did not incorporate the PAS in their duties possibly due to its limited features, overcrowding at computer stations, impracticability of inputting data at ward rounds, and time constraints but also due to lack of information of its potential benefits. In an era of computerisation, organisations have to make use of technology to become more efficient so as to gain a competitive advantage. The development of an IT Strategy for Health is recommended as a framework for further developments. Such strategy will include an action plan to make computers widely available in all sectors, and to outline how such systems can be upgraded accordingly. Access to e-mail, intranet and the Internet should be encouraged and made freely available to health professionals if they are to improve their communication, their access to knowledge and to improve the quality of care. The development of a structured training programme is suggested to enable healthcare professionals use these resources effectively. This research has highlighted some important aspects which may guide policy makers in the implementation of a new Hospital Information System for the Maltese Public Healthcare System.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacM&S - 2005
Dissertations - FacM&SPH - 2005

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