J. Multidiscip. Res. Healthcare

Role of Information Technology in Healthcare Services: Visitor's Perception

Santosh Kumar Sharma*,1 and Anil Kumar2

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Healthcare, Services, Information Technology

PUBLISHED DATE April 02, 2018
PUBLISHER The Author(s) 2012. This article is published with open access at www.chitkara.edu.in/publications.

The aging population, increasing pollution, and lethargic life style of human beings are some of the primary reasons for the growth of healthcare sector. Indian entrepreneurs have observed this growth opportunities and providing healthcare services in multiple ways. However, the literature emphasizes that without integrating information technology in existing healthcare facilities, quality service cannot be rendered to a large number of patients. With this backdrop, the present study is a novel endeavor to explore the role of information technology in Indian healthcare services. It aims to explain the relevance and dimensions of information technology in relation to healthcare services and examines the empirical relationship between identified dimensions and some demographical factors (age, educational qualification, income, and gender).The results of this study can be beneficial to healthcare professionals, service enablers, implementing agencies, and policy makers. Limitations, further research directions and conclusions have been discussed.


History of the human evolution is a testimony of the fact that human beings have always struggled for the survival and in most cases the Darwin’s notion of “Survival of the Fittest” hold true. Analogical to this testimony this is quite natural to assume that with the increasing complexities in professional and personal life most of the times people engage themselves in excessive targets and role demands. In common parlance we can say that in order to survive in family, personal relations, and professional life we always strive to stretch our abilities, skills, and capacities ranging from mental to physical. However, in this journey of survival most of the time we neglect our health consciously or unconsciously which result into visits to hospitals and healthcare centers. Moreover, recent research indicates with the increasing environmental pollution (Mohan, 2017; Rizwan et. al., 2013; Kelishadi, 2012; Remoundou and Koundouri, 2009) and complex life style (Farhud, 2015; Stanley and Laugharne, 2014; Walsh, 2011), the issue of health has become an important concern. At this juncture it is worthwhile to note that whatever be the reason for health concerns we tend to take care it (health) by visiting the hospitals or healthcare center which not only creates hurdles for progressive life by reducing work efficiency and productivity but also induces spillover effect on visitors (family members, relatives, and friends of the patient). We can observe that in India whenever a patients visits to hospitals or healthcare centers, he or she is accompanied by few family members, relatives or friends who spares their valuable time with the patients for their medical checkup and treatment. However, due to the increasing role demands in personal and professional domains people have scarcity of time and thereby hesitate to invest any productive moment with the patient’s medical care. Recently, we witnessed a case where the son of a professor said that “Because of my commuting distance and professional challenges it is very difficult for me to accompany my father in his several visits to hospital. This son elaborated that there are many hospitals or healthcare centers which are unable to process all the required functions and provide healthcare services at one go”. From this conversation we deduced that in the contemporary era of nuclear families and professional liabilities it is difficult for people to invest a lot of time in undesirable activities related to medical diagnosis, treatments, and report collection and therefore we can argue that there will be increasing need of technology enabled healthcare services. Moreover, World Health Resolution (67/13) it is expected that by 2050 the world’s population aged 60 years and older is expected to total 2 billion, up from 900 million in 2015 out of which 80% of all older people will live in low- and middle-income countries. There is no doubt that these demographical changes will bring many societal benefits primarily in terms of mentorship rendered by these old aged people to younger generations or millennials and career opportunities for old-aged people even after retirement from jobs (if they wish) but it will also forward many challenges before associated stakeholders (government, hospitals, healthcare centers etc.) to provide healthcare services to these old-aged people. To provide these healthcare services in urban areas is relatively easy as compare to rural areas but it is difficult in rural and remote areas because of infrastructural problems, lack of manpower (doctors, paramedical staff, administrative executives etc.) coupled with geographical terrains. Therefore, it is the need of hour that information technology should be integrated in existing healthcare facilities to an optimum level. With these backdrops, when we meticulously searched the relevant and available literature further we found that there are many scholarly works (research studies) in the said direction. Some of these studies which have highlighted the role of information technology in healthcare services are, medical tourism (Moghavvemi et. al., 2016), material management in intensive care units (Huang et al., 2016), hospital efficiency (Cho et al., 2016), patient’s safety and quality of care (Seblega, 2015), cost optimization, quality, patient experience, strategy, and organization culture (Cline and Luiz, 2013; Ortiz and Clancy, 2003), quality of health information (Li et al., 2012), outpatient appointment systems (Wijewickrama and Takakuwa, 2012), clinical decision making (Byrd and Byrd, 2012), bed-monitoring system (Lu, 2012), emergency medical services (Ahmed et al., 2010), efficiency and equity (Testi et al., 2009), patient’s satisfaction with web based information during surgical intervention (Koop et al., 2010), economic implications and the patient satisfaction (Masella and Zanaboni, 2009), postoperative patient monitoring (Rajasekaran et al., 2008), financial Impact (Ohsfeldt et al., 2005), medication safety (Kaushal et al., 2003), new kinds of employment in health-related professions (Masys, 2002), and reduction of medical error (Bates et al., 2001). Apart from the aforementioned studies other studies which have indicated the potential role of information technology in healthcare services are, Otte-Trojel et al., 2017; Patwardhan et al., 2017; Thomas and Woodside, 2016; Schultz et al., 2016; Zhan, et al., 2016; Sintonen et al., 2015; Wang, 2015; Steiner, 2014; Mosadeghrad, 2014; Ozcan and Legg, 2014; Mehraeen et al., 2014; Thangaraj and Gnanambal; 2014; Miah, 2014; Bhangale, 2011; Henschke et al., 2010; Herrick et al., 2010; Alasaarela et al., 2009; Whetstone and Randeree, 2008; Pui-Mun, 2004; Duplaga, 2004; Chaua and Hub, 2002; Buntin et al., 2002; and Bates et al., 2001. However, only few studies have been conducted from Asian perspective especially with reference to India (Venkateswaran et al., 2016; Srinivas and Prasad, 2013; Kavitha, 2013; Itumalla, 2012). This research gap motivated us to undertake the present study with the following objectives.

Page(s) 83-93
URL http://dspace.chitkara.edu.in/jspui/bitstream/123456789/779/3/JMRH002.pdf
ISSN 2393-8536, Online : 2393-8544
DOI http://doi.org/10.15415/jmrh.2018.42007

The present study has been initiated with an aim to understand the relevance and dimensions of information technology in the context of Indian healthcare system followed by linking these dimensions with some of the demographical variables such as age, gender, educational qualification, and income. At macro level, the study divulges the fact that people in India have a high inclination to use technology based healthcare services especially those services which are coupled with information technology. At micro level, the study highlights that there could be three dimensions of information technology that can be integrated in healthcare services. These dimensions cover a wide range of healthcare services in three different phases of medical treatments i.e., pre-visit to hospitals, during stay in hospitals and post-discharge facilities. Moreover, it has been found that income which is one of the demographical variables may be an important predictor in accessing technology based healthcare services in India. However, other three demographical variables (age, educational qualification, gender) are found insignificant in explaining respondents’ inclination towards identified dimensions of information technology (PVTS, DTTS, and PDTS). In the light of the obtained results it may be summarized that „Role of Information Technology in Indian Healthcare Services’ is emerging as a vital issue which need to be discussed through integrated forums of healthcare professionals, academia, policy makers and government agencies. In conclusion, we would like to highlight that as most of the Indian population resides in rural area, associated stakeholders should think to train the users and service providers regarding healthcare information technology.

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