Beyond Medical Informatics

The Art and Science of Making Healthcare IT Work

Peer pressure to promote EMR adoption?

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Early adopters of EMR and other Healthcare IT applications are keys in promoting EMR adoption. This is what an article calls the ‘social contagion’ theory.

Here’s the article: Doctors tech adoption influenced by social circle – American Medical News.

Hospitals will find this part useful:

The Management Science study ran statistical models and mathematical equations involving 3,989 hospitals to determine which would be the influencers and which would be influenced. One conclusion was that smaller hospitals’ use of EMRs was more likely to influence bigger hospitals’ use, rather than the other way around.

Much of the issue came down to resources. A smaller hospital might hear of a larger hospital’s success with an EMR system, but it might not have the resources to purchase one. However, researchers said a larger hospital has the financial resources to act if a smaller hospital had paved the way.

This concept might work for the Philippines. Sometimes, smaller hospitals in provinces are more aggressive for Healthcare IT growth. Their successes should be documented and broadcast to influence bigger hospitals.

Even HIT adoption among individual physicians is not immune to the ‘social contagion’:

The authors surveyed the physicians and residents to determine what social factors influenced use of the EMR, looking at the effect of professional relationships, "a friendship network based on personal intimacy," and "a perceived influence network" based on doctors’ perceptions of how other people affected their decision to adopt.

The study’s finding that personal relationships were the biggest influence on EMR adoption echoed the results of past studies on physician adoption of other technology. This was one reason researchers said they were confident in their results despite a small sample size.

I will have to consider the ‘social contagion’ concept during HIS implementations. The EMR project teams should identify physician champions not only for their ability to appreciate the use of technology but also for their ability to influence peers and colleagues.

Written by Dr. Mike Muin

September 25th, 2010 at 8:52 pm

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