Organizational factors that influence information technology diffusion in academic health sciences centers

J Am Med Inform Assoc. Mar-Apr 1997;4(2):102-11. doi: 10.1136/jamia.1997.0040102.


Objective: To identify the organizational factors which influence the diffusion of end user online literature searching, the computer-based patient record, and electronic mail systems in academic health sciences centers in the United States.

Design: A total of 1335 individuals working in informatics and library areas at 67 academic health sciences centers in the U.S. were surveyed. Multivariate techniques were used to evaluate the relationship between the set of six organizational factors and two measures of innovation diffusion.

Measurements: A Guttman-like scale was developed to measure infusion, or depth or sophistication, of each of the three innovations at each institution. Diffusion was measured by a question previously developed for another study. Six independent variables were measured via five formerly developed scales and one new one.

Results: The overall response rate was 41%. The set of organizational variables produced significant results in the diffusion of each of the three innovations, with individual variables influencing diffusion to varying degrees. The same set produced significant results in relation to infusion only for online searching. There was little or no correlation between infusion and diffusion for each innovation.

Conclusion: Organizational attributes are important predictors for diffusion of information technology innovations. Individual variables differ in their effect on each innovation. The set of attributes seems less able to predict infusion. It is recommended that both infusion and diffusion be measured in future studies because there is little relation between them. It is further recommended that individuals charged with implementing information technology in the health sciences receive training in managing organizational issues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / organization & administration*
  • Computer Communication Networks*
  • Decision Making, Organizational
  • Diffusion of Innovation*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized*
  • Motivation
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Online Systems*
  • Organizational Innovation
  • Regression Analysis
  • United States