Use of Diffusion of Innovations Theory in Medical Informatics Research

Use of Diffusion of Innovations Theory in Medical Informatics Research

Fred K. Weigel (Eisenhower Army Medical Center, USA), R. Kelly Rainer (Auburn University, USA), Benjamin T. Hazen (Auburn University, USA), Casey G. Cegielski (Auburn University, USA) and F. Nelson Ford (Auburn University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jhisi.2012070104
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Abstract

The authors examine the use of tenets of diffusion of innovations theory in the medical informatics literature to reveal how the theory has and can continue to provide a basis for scholars seeking to align their research with the theory. A content analysis method was used to examine over 2,000 journal articles from the fields of medical informatics, medicine, and information systems. The authors found that tenets of diffusion of innovations theory were prevalent in the literature. Although several theories are useful in explaining phenomenon in the domain of medical informatics, diffusion of innovation is one such theory that can be applicable to a vast amount of medical informatics research that is focused on new technologies or work processes.
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Background: Diffusion Of Innovations

We chose DOI as the basis for this study because it is a frequently-studied and widely-accepted theory, having few changes since its inception over 60 years ago (Brown, 1981; Rogers, 2003). Following is a brief explanation of DOI (for an exhaustive discussion of DOI, refer to Brown, 1981; Rogers, 2003). Diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system and involves how, when, and by whom an innovation is adopted (Lippert & Forman, 2005; Rogers, 2003). An innovation is a practice, idea, or object that is new or perceived as new by a unit of adoption (Flint, Larsson, Gammelgaard, & Mentzer, 2005; Hazen, Cegielski, & Hanna, 2011; Rogers, 2003). Many studies in medical informatics investigate innovations and barriers to their diffusion or adoption.

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