The Influence of National Factors on Transferring and Adopting Telemedicine Technology: Perspectives of Chief Information Officers

The Influence of National Factors on Transferring and Adopting Telemedicine Technology: Perspectives of Chief Information Officers

Fariba Latifi (Lakehead University, Toronto, Canada) and Somayeh Alizadeh (Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/IJEHMC.2016070104
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Abstract

Telemedicine has drawn increasing attention as a beneficial healthcare delivery medium, especially in developing countries that struggle with physician and health professional shortages, through providing health services in remote areas. This paper presents the findings of a survey conducted to investigate the national factors influencing the adoption of telemedicine technology in Iran, as a less developed country. Designing a self-administered questionnaire the data were collected from the Chief Information Officers (CIOs) of Iranian healthcare system. The findings indicate that political factors such as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) policies, national data security policies, national e-health policies, national ICT infrastructures and rational decision-making, along with organizational factors such as organizational readiness and implementation effectiveness, are positively associated with telemedicine capability in Iran. However, no evidence was found to support the direct impact of cultural factors on transferring telemedicine technology in the country.
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Telemedicine In Iran

In Iran, telemedicine has been accepted as a viable alternative to address the inequality of access to health services, especially in rural areas. It is also used to provide medical assistance at circumstances of natural disaster such as earthquake and flood, which are common in the country. Despite the last decade’s efforts of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education to develop e-health platform and infrastructure in Iran, the foundation remains weak and diffusion of telemedicine is low. Past research has highlighted factors such as cost and quality of the telecommunication foundations (Internet, Intranet, space technology, etc.), absence of strict regulations and standards, and lack of reasonable financial supports as important obstacles to effective integration of telemedicine into clinical practice in Iran. Furthermore, researchers have emphasized the essential need for cultural and social programs to raise expert/public understanding of the benefits of such technology (Elahi et al., 2013; Safavi, 2011).

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