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Review reveals research gaps in health care and technology studies

health data
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

The role of technology in health care is high on the agenda especially in the face of rising costs, but also more positively in terms of how providers can improve the outcomes for patients with improvements in technology. Indeed, technology is critical to patient outcomes and the overall performance of health care systems. A literature review published in the International Journal of Healthcare Technology and Management would suggest that current research in the field has not fully explored just how far we might take the deployment of technology in improving the performance of health care provision.

Amia Enam, Heidi Carin Dreyer, Jonas A. Ingvaldsen, and Luitzen De Boer of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim conducted a systematic literature review to come to this conclusion. They identified three key limitations in the published research. First, there is an apparent lack of understanding of the connection between technology and performance. Second, existing theories are not being used effectively in many studies. Third, there is a lack of understanding of the context in which technology is deployed.

The team has developed a framework that could be used to address these limitations in the research literature. The researchers suggest that future work might focus on conceptualizing technology in terms of its functionalities, clearly identify and explain the choice of performance attributes, and identify and explain the mechanisms by which technology, and specifically serves health care operations.

Ultimately, by highlighting the importance of a clearer understanding of how technology is used to improve health care performance, the team hopes that the next tranche of research papers to enter the literature might more effectively fill the gaps in current knowledge. The team adds that their framework could help researchers produce the research to support and policymakers in making informed decisions about technology deployment, ultimately to the benefit of patient and perhaps even the bottom line.

More information: Jonas A. Ingvaldsen et al, Improving healthcare operations with IT deployment: A critical assessment of literature and a framework for future research, International Journal of Healthcare Technology and Management (2022). DOI: 10.1504/IJHTM.2022.10051288

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