Gender Differences in Adoption and Use of a Healthcare IT Application

Gender Differences in Adoption and Use of a Healthcare IT Application

Kai Zheng (Carnegie Mellon University, USA), Rema Padman (Carnegie Mellon University, USA), Michael P. Johnson (Carnegie Mellon University, USA) and Herbert S. Diamond (The Western Pennsylvania Hospital, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-050-9.ch123
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Abstract

Information technology (IT) adoption and diffusion is a central concern of information systems research and practice. The most widely-accepted method in IT adoption and diffusion research, the technology acceptance model (TAM; Davis 1989), posits that perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness are fundamental determinants of user acceptance. However, TAM and its subsequent research makes little or no reference to gender effects (Adams, Nelson, & Todd, 1992; Chin & Gopal, 1995; Venkatesh & Davis, 2000), despite the fact that researchers have shown that sociocultural factors, such as gender and ethnic differences, influence human perceptions and behaviors (Hofstede, 1980). These socio-cultural factors can result in differences in user responses to technology innovations (Gefen & Straub, 1997). Aiming to provide theoretical extensions to the TAM model, researchers have shown that gender differences may relate to beliefs and use of IT. For instance, males and females are found to demonstrate distinct adoption behavior in use of a wide spectrum of IT applications, such as e-mail (Gefen & Straub, 1997), mobile telephony (Ling, 2000) and Internet (Kraut, Scherlis, Mukhopadhyay, Manning, & Kiesler, 1996). Nevertheless, the exact gender effect remains a controversy. Some researchers believe that females are less technology inclined, less motivated and, therefore, less competent in masculine computer and technology culture (Wilder, Mackie, & Cooper, 1985; Qureshi & Hoppel, 1995). Others, in contrast, argue that females have the ability to be proficient in adopting new technologies (Turkle, 1995). Some research results indicate that females tend to favor some technology innovations and use them more effectively than males, such as computer-mediated communication (Kraut et al., 1996; Morahan-Martin & Schumacher, 1997). In health care, influence of physician gender has long been noted in resident education and many practice areas. Researchers find the procedural and obstetrical care pattern of practice differs between male and female residents (Chaytors, Szafran, & Crutcher, 2001), and physician gender significantly affects treatments in adult primary care practice (Boulis & Long, 2004). An understanding of these socio-cultural issues is also of vital importance towards success of health care IT applications. This study is thereby designed to assess medical residents’ acceptance and adoption of a Clinical Reminder System (CRS), by examining several key user characteristics that may relate to adoption and use of the system.

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