Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore the influence of hospitals' organisational characteristics on telehealth adoption by health-care centres involved in the extended telehealth network of Quebec (French acronym RQTE) DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH: The article is based on a review of the literature and a questionnaire, which was administered via telephone interviews to the 32 hospitals involved in the Extended Telehealth Network of Quebec. Contingency analyses were performed to determine which organisational factors have influenced telehealth adoption. Subsequently, a multiple case study was conducted among nine hospitals representative of different categories of telehealth adopters. In-depth interviews with various actors involved in telehealth activities have permitted a deepening of one's understanding of the impact of clinical and administrative contexts on telehealth adoption.
Findings: The results from both the questionnaire and interviews support the observation made by Whitten and Adams in 2003 that telehealth programs are not isolated, but located within larger health organisations. Moreover, health-care organisations are also positioned in a larger geographical, economical and socio-political environment. Therefore, it is important to investigate the context in which telehealth projects are taking place prior to experimentation.
Originality/value: This study has highlighted the relevance of considering the characteristics and the dynamics of health-care organisations at each stage of telehealth implementation in order to take their specific needs into account.