Factors Affecting the Sustainability of Computer Information Systems: Embedding New Information Technology into a Hospital Environment

Factors Affecting the Sustainability of Computer Information Systems: Embedding New Information Technology into a Hospital Environment

Donald C. McDermid (Edith Cowan University, Australia), Linda J. Kristjanson (Curtin University of Technology, Australia) and Nigel Spry (Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1755-1.ch004
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Abstract

This study explores the issues and barriers to developing a sustainable system for the collection of quality of life data in hospitals. A set of sustainability factors was identified and tested in a study that introduced tablet computers to collect questionnaires from cancer patients. These factors are considered a good starting point for practitioners and researchers to use in other IT contexts if they wish to develop sustainable information systems.
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Background

Although an increasing number of research studies in hospitals employ regular collection of quality of life information, obtaining good reliable data has traditionally been considered problematic. For example, patients are frequently asked to complete a multi-item questionnaire of over 100 questions. Completion of all relevant items is of necessary for research conclusions to be significant, yet with paper-based systems, up to 10% of questionnaires are incomplete through, for example, patients being unaware that they have missed certain sections (Streiner & Norman, 1995). This has serious implications since a cause for missing items can be personal problems in that area, and hence these personal problems, in research studies, are almost certainly underreported.

A second problem in these studies is the concern that the feedback obtained is not representative of the whole population undergoing treatment. More specifically, although clinical studies now try to recruit a representative sample of patients there is a concern that feedback, whether paper or computer based, tends to be more easily obtainable from younger and fitter patients. Therefore the data may be skewed, which in turn creates problems in generalising the conclusions. Possible reasons for this include:

  • Elderly patients who are negatively disposed towards technology,

  • Patients with weakened cognitive functions due to medication or illness,

  • Patients who have difficulty in reading or whose eyesight is poor.

  • Patients whose concentration is affected because of anxiety.

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