What is the effect of information and computing technology on healthcare?

  • Author / Creator
    Ludwick, Dave
  • Long waitlists and growing numbers of unattached patients are indicative of a Canadian healthcare system which is unable to address the demands of a growing and aging population. Health information technology is one solution offering respite, but brings its own issues. Health information technology includes primary care physician office systems, telehealth and jurisdictional EHRs integrated through interoperability standards to share data across care providers. This dissertation explores effects that health information technology has on primary care. Literature reviews provided context of health information systems adoption. Surveys and semi-structured interviews gathered information from health system actors. Workflow analysis illustrated how technology could change physician office workflow. Exam room observations illustrated how technology affects proxemics and haptics in the patient encounter.

    This research derived change management models which quantified substantial change management costs related to adoption of physician office systems. We found that physicians have concerns over how health information technology will affect efficiency, financial, quality, liability, safety and other factors. Physicians in smaller suburban physician offices take little time to select a system for their needs. Urban, academic and hospital physicians spend more time networking with colleagues and devote funds to project management and training. Our studies showed that stronger professional networks, more complete training, a managed approach to implementation and in-house technical support are more influential in facilitating adoption than remuneration models. Telemedicine can improve quality of care, the referral process for family physicians and access to services for patients. Teledermatology was shown to make significant improvements in access to services for patients, but referring physicians are concerned about their liability if they follow the recommendations of a dermatologist who has not seen their patient face-to-face. Certification organizations mitigate liability, procurement and financial risk to qualifying family physicians by pre-qualifying vendor solutions, coaching physicians through procurement and reimbursing family physicians for purchasing an approved system. We found that centralization plays a key role in adoption of health information systems at the jurisdictional and primary care level. Online scheduling can reduce human resource requirements used in scheduling, if the system is well implemented, well documented and easy to use.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2009
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Dr. Pierre Mertiny (Mechanical Engineering)
    • Dr. Don Philippon (Strategic Management & Special Advisor to the Provost on Health System Relations)
    • Dr. Peter Flynn (Mechanical Engineering)
    • Dr. Jason Carey (Mechanical Engineering)
    • Dr. Andre Kushniruk (University of Victoria, Health Information Science)