Purpose: Implementations of health information technologies are notoriously difficult, which is due to a range of inter-related technical, social and organizational factors that need to be considered. In the light of an apparent lack of empirically based integrated accounts surrounding these issues, this interpretative review aims to provide an overview and extract potentially generalizable findings across settings.
Methods: We conducted a systematic search and critique of the empirical literature published between 1997 and 2010. In doing so, we searched a range of medical databases to identify review papers that related to the implementation and adoption of eHealth applications in organizational settings. We qualitatively synthesized this literature extracting data relating to technologies, contexts, stakeholders, and their inter-relationships.
Results: From a total body of 121 systematic reviews, we identified 13 systematic reviews encompassing organizational issues surrounding health information technology implementations. By and large, the evidence indicates that there are a range of technical, social and organizational considerations that need to be deliberated when attempting to ensure that technological innovations are useful for both individuals and organizational processes. However, these dimensions are inter-related, requiring a careful balancing act of strategic implementation decisions in order to ensure that unintended consequences resulting from technology introduction do not pose a threat to patients.
Conclusions: Organizational issues surrounding technology implementations in healthcare settings are crucially important, but have as yet not received adequate research attention. This may in part be due to the subjective nature of factors, but also due to a lack of coordinated efforts toward more theoretically-informed work. Our findings may be used as the basis for the development of best practice guidelines in this area.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.