Factors affecting the introduction of ICTs for developing countries

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Mediterranean Journal of Medical Sciences Volume 1, Issue 1, October 2014: 13-20
Original Paper
Factors affecting the introduction of ICTs for
‘healthcare decision-making’ in hospitals of
developing countries
Najam Afaq Qureshi1,Qamar Afaq Qureshi2, Dr. Muhammad Zubair
Khan2, Dr. Bahadar Shah3, Irfan Marwart2
1
Sarhad University, Pakistan, 2Gomal University, Pakistan, 3Hazara University, Pakistan
Abstract
Background & objectives: Several studies have evaluated the impacts of ICTs on decisionmaking process in both public and private health organizations but there is a dearth of such
studies that integrate ICTs and effective decision making in Pakistan. Since the Pakistani
governments continue to provide huge IT investment for its designated e-government
agencies, the need to comprehend the impacts of ICTs on effective decision making becomes
more important.
Methods: This study strives to ameliorate the comprehension of the impacts of ICTs for
decision-making process at all management levels of both public and private health
organizations in Pakistan. Research on the information and communication technologies for
decision-making is tabling new tools and techniques in the marketplace.
Results: This study attempts to unearth literature review-based definition of the local
decision-situations to help private and public sector organizations in Pakistan.
Interpretation & conclusion: In the emerging ICTs environment, IT elements such as e-mail
and group support facilities improve the coordination among the members of an organization
in decision making. The use of these ICTs improves the organizational communication, which
ultimately leads to effective decision-making
Key words: ICTs; adoption factors; decision-making; healthcare; developing countries.
1. Introduction
The concept of ‘global-village’
indicates high levels of interaction
between nations of the world. It
also
reflects
impacts
of
globalization with global culture
on the organizational life of public
and private organizations working
in both developed and developing
societies (Luthans, 2002: 47).
Modern organizational life is
characterized
with
complex
environments demanding the
processing of huge data to analyze
and diagnose complex situations
(Robbins, 1998:6). It is the “fastpaced, global, highly competitive
and
information-intensive
environment, due to which
managers are facing new decision-
Mediterranean Journal of Medical Sciences V1, I1 October 2014: 13-20
making
2000:33).
challenges
(Boiney,
Despite these environmental
pressures, the decision-making is
unanimously considered as the
most important and unique
function of every manager
(Drucker,
1974:465;
Loomba,
1978:3). In this modern age
traditional
decision-making
approach has been replaced by a
systematic
decision
making
process (Weihrich and Koontz,
1999:199), which is a key factor
driving the quest for information
and development of supporting
technologies (Boiney, 2000:32;
Turban et al., 2004:544). Digital
technology has influenced all
sectors like business, government
utility services and personal life.
1.1 ICTs in health sector
One of the most significant
impacts
of
the
ongoing
information revolution has been
on the health sector. In the field of
health care, ICTs have emerged as
key instruments in solving many
of the most pressing problems.
ICT has helped to bridge the gap
between the provider and seeker
through telemedicine and remote
consultations, enabled health
knowledge
management
by
institutions and agencies, and
facilitated in the creation of
networks between providers for
exchange of information and
©2014 Mediterranean Center of Medical Sciences
14
experiences. In fact, globally, the
e-Health or health telematics
sector is fast emerging as the third
industrial pillar of the health
sector after the pharmaceutical
and the medical (imaging) devices
industries(Macleod,2007).From a
development perspective, ICTs
are key instruments towards
meeting
the
Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs)
related to health. In this respect,
the increasing adoption of ICT in
health care services of developing
countries, by both public and
private sectors, has been a
welcome trend. All across the
world, governments are pledging
and pooling more and more of
their
resources
towards
developing ICT tools and systems
with the ultimate aim of
facilitating
management,
streamlining surveillance and
improving health care through
better delivery of preventive and
curative services (Turban et al.,
2004). In line with this trend the
government of Pakistan in August
2000, announced an integrated
policy
of
Information
Technology, which has been
welcomed as step towards
modernization and globalization.
2. Factors affecting adoption
and use of ICTs in hospitals
The increasing pressure of
business environment of the
N. A. Qureshi et al
information age is forcing the
organizations of the entire world
to adopt and use Information and
communication
technologies
(ICTs) in decision making. It is
well reported that private sector
organizations
are
using
information system for achieving
strategic advantages and gaining
financial and business benefits
more than its public counterpart.
The influence of some factors on
the information system (IS)
success is well documented (see
for example, Ahlan, 2005; Michel
& Betty, 2003); Andrew Georgiou
et al., 2002). Various studies have
pointed out Users, executives,
Proper Organization, and external
environment as the key crucial
factors
that
influence
implementation of ICTs in any
organization.
2.1 Users
Human
relations
movement
(behavioral
approach
to
management) stresses that human
element in an organization must
be given importance in order to
increase
the
organizational
efficiency (Certo, 2001:37-38). It
also emphasizes that effective
human
relations
generate
commitment of workers and high
productivity in organizations.
Thus management must build
appropriate relationships with its
people, as ability to work with
people enhance organizational
15
success. A manager under
interpersonal role motivates,
directs people and performs duties
of social nature i.e. generates
respect for each other, trusts the
workers. likewise the success of
ICTs is not possible in the
organizations whereby the human
element is not given importance
and where exists a lack of
participation of end users in IS
(Information
system)
development
proceedings
as
asserted by Macleod (2007) that
design and implementation of the
hardware/software have greater
success rates in the organizations
whereby end users and ITstaff/professionals jointly develop
an information system and as
Bradly (2006) says that it is the
human element which is related
with the adoption and success of
new technologies.
The literature reveals that private
health organizations in Pakistan
are more inclined to e-government
initiatives and whereby the
executives of these hospitals are
more interested in the adoption
and use of IT in their decision
making
process
than
the
management of public sector
hospitals. Furthermore, private
health organizations are involving
the doctors, physicians and other
healthcare workers in information
system
(IS)
development.
Literature also highlights that to
http://www.mcmscience.org
Mediterranean Journal of Medical Sciences V1, I1 October 2014: 13-20
date the private sector’s use of
information systems for achieving
strategic advantages and gaining
financial and business benefits is
much greater than its public
counterparts
(Ahlan,
2005)”.
According to Macleod et al. (2007)
people have no participation in
the IS development due to
concept prevailing in public health
organizations
that
their
suggestions for IS development
and implementations are neither
welcomed nor entertained and
also increases the time duration of
IS development. Similarly Certo
(2001:
37-38)
argues
that
organizational success can be
enhanced by building appropriate
relationships with the people.
2.2 Executives
Literature reveals that in private
organizations
management
arranges and provides proper
training to the people, the
environment
is
friendlier,
management has trust in their
employees and people have
respect
for
each
other.
Furthermore, results of the
different studies validate the
assertion that human force in
private health organizations is
highly qualified, professional,
trained and well experienced as
well as more committed to the
adoption and use of IT in decision
making
process
than
the
managerial staff of public health
©2014 Mediterranean Center of Medical Sciences
16
organization ( see for example,
Keri, 2007; Michel & Betty,2003);
Avital, 2003).
Executives are responsible for
overall management of the
organization.
They
establish
operating policies and guide the
organization’s interaction with its
environment
(Stoner
and
Wankle, 1986:15) and play
different
roles
such
as
interpersonal, informational and
decisional.
Thus
under
information
role
they
are
responsible for transmitting the
information received from outside
or from other subordinates to the
members of the organization and
transmits information to outsiders
on organization’s plans, policies,
actions and results (Robins and
Decenzo, 2006: 37). To play an
informational role successfully,
executives require and make the
use of ICTs but our study reveals
that
executives
of
public
organizations do not take interest
in the adoption and use of ICTs as
pinpointed by Ahlan (2005) that
the executives in public health
organizations do not take much
interest in the adoption and use of
ICTs, they do not possess
awareness about ICTs and have
no experience of using the same
for solving their unstructured
problems.
N. A. Qureshi et al
2.3 Proper Organization
Proper organization helps the
smooth
running
of
administration. It provides an
opportunity to direct employees
and coordinate their efforts. It
facilitates the distribution of work
among different units. It provides
channels
of
communication,
command and coordination. It
fixes
authority
and
responsibilities for each individual
of an organization. All this
indicates that organization has
many
roles
to
play
in
administrative processes. Despite
all such theoretical claims
literature study reveals that there
is poor organization mechanism
in the public health organizations,
however, reasons to which are
multifarious and playing different
roles such as highly centralized
system, limited participation,
unclear role and responsibilities,
lack
of
cooperation
and
coordination, absence of time
work, lack of interest and
commitment.
This
highly
centralized
system
of
administration
with
nonparticipatory approach of the
public sector organizations is the
main obstacle in the ICTs success
(Hage & Aiken, 1969).
2.4 External environment
The
environment
of
an
organization
contains
both
supportive
and
antagonistic
17
forces. An organization system
derives support from clients or
customers who need its products
and services and from society’s
protection of property and other
rights. But the organization is also
subject to the constraints of public
regulations, demands for social
responsibility,
and
meeting
multiplicity of demand that are
often conflicting (McFarland,
1979: 290).
It is part of every
manager’s responsibility to be
alert about the forces of external
environment that affect an
organization
and
its
goal.
However, findings of the study
indicate that the management of
private health organization is
more capable to fight with both
external and internal environment
to meet their desired objectives
than to its counterparts.
3. Discussions
ICTs refer to how an organization
transfers its inputs into outputs.
Every
organization
has
information
technology
that
converts financial, human and
physical resources into products
or services ( Robbins,1998). But
ICTs
in
private
health
organizations are fully compatible
with the organizational systems
because they are designed,
developed
and
implemented
according to an existing work
patterns and requirements of an
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Mediterranean Journal of Medical Sciences V1, I1 October 2014: 13-20
organization
Hughes
(2003).
Similarly, Macleod (2007) argues
that design and implementation of
the information technology have
greater success rates in the private
organizations because of user’s
participation
in
information
system development process. The
literature reveals that information
technology is making the greatest
impact on the nature of
management thereby forcing the
managers to adapt themselves
with the emerging new trends
(Haiman et al., 1985:37). Similarly,
Boiney (2000:32) and Turban, et
al. (2004:549) argues that the need
to speed up, coordinate and
improve the aspects of decisionmaking has led managers to adopt
enabling technologies. In the
emerging ICTs environment, IT
elements such as e-mail and group
support facilities improve the
coordination among the members
of an organization in decision
making. The use of these ICTs
improves
the
organizational
communication, which ultimately
leads to effective decision-making
(Rockart and Short, 1989).
Furthermore ICTs are very useful
means
for
collection
and
dissemination of information that
is why most of the executives and
the managers of private health
organizations
use
e-mails
frequently because they believe
that ICTs can convey things more
effectively Keri (2007).
©2014 Mediterranean Center of Medical Sciences
18
4. Conclusion
Quick access to relevant and valid
information is possible through
information and communication
technologies. Furthermore these
new
technologies
provide
information that is needed for
better decision-making on the
issues affecting an organization
regarding human and material
resources. Majority of the
managers try to be rational while
making decisions but to do so they
must follow the steps of rational
making process i.e. defining the
problem situation, develop the
alternatives,
evaluate
the
alternatives and select the best one
available
and
finally
implementation and monitoring
of the decision. In addition the
‘development of the alternatives –
phase’ of decision-making process
will not be effective until the
availability of timely and accurate
information to analyze the
decision situation and generate as
many alternatives as possible too
stresses the importance of
information
and
developing
alternatives
for
effective
decisions.
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