According to received wisdom, these technologies offer a means of reducing the costs of healthcare delivery as well as fundamentally transforming the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses. The core idea here is that the implementation of ICTs will facilitate information sharing across healthcare organizations thereby enabling physicians and other healthcare providers to see more patients more quickly without reducing the quality of care provided. We suggest, however, that the preoccupation with employing ICTs to enhance the efficiency of healthcare organizations is all too frequently linked to an overly simplistic and rather deterministic understanding of the factors influencing the success and failures associated with the implementation of information systems in organizational contexts.
Taken together, these findings raise a number of questions about the compatibility of the techno-economic logic driving the expansion of ICT-based healthcare with the provision of high quality patient care. More importantly they highlight the need to not lose sight of the complex interplay of factors influencing the delivery of patient care. Put simply, and as we have argued elsewhere, there is a continued need for ICT-related healthcare policy to be guided by empirical evidence about the compendium of factors influencing success and failure of ICT implementation and diffusion in the telemedicine and telecare domain as opposed to abstract assessments of technological potential. It is only on the basis of such user-centred evidence that we can expect to formulate successful strategies for improving efficiency of healthcare delivery in a manner that does not diminish the clinical and therapeutic dimension of healthcare performance.
Authors :Luc Bonneville, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Communication, University of Ottawa
Daniel J. Paré, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Communication, University of Ottawa
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