Qualitative Method Approach to Stakeholders, Attitudes Towards E-Health Elements

Birutė Pitrėnaitė-Žilėnienė, Birutė Mikulskienė

Abstract


Many countries encounter different problems that are being experienced during the process of design, implementation and development of innovative information and communication technologies (ICT) in healthcare, known as eHealth solutions. Some of these problems are more challenging and influential than others. One of those is ensuring coherent stakeholders’ involvement in all the stages of eHealth development, matching of stakeholders’ interests and maintaining close cooperation. Therefore, in order to evaluate or prognosticate further development of eHealth, it is expedient to research stakeholders’ involvement, their attitudes towards diverse elements of eHealth and satisfaction with both eHealth development process and results. An increasing number of research evidences demonstrate the necessity to pursuit eHealth actors’ abilities to discuss demands and expectations, and negotiate changes of performance. The present research aims to investigate eHealth stakeholders’ attitudes towards eHealth elements through applying qualitative method approach. The paper identifies eHealth elements, develops the methodology allowing collecting data on eHealth stakeholders’ perceptions of these elements, tests the methodology and discusses generalized results of qualitative research. The methodology is based on semi-structural interviews. The authors of the research completed 41 individual and 3 group interviews with employees (heads of administrations, medical staff and ICT specialists) from different eHealth system institutions (hospitals, primary healthcare organizations, ministry of health, IT companies and other) from 10 Lithuanian cities.
Preliminary results of qualitative research revealed that eHealth stakeholders acknowledge the importance of all eHealth elements. However, the focus of attention was put on the elements related to inter-institutional cooperation among the institutions of eHealth system and on interaction within healthcare institutions installing eHealth solutions. The respondents agreed that participation of employees from all the organizational structures (doctors and nurses, administration, IT specialists) plays a crucial role for the success of system development. However, the research evidences that cooperation that is more active is demonstrated within organizations. Interaction among different institutions concerning eHealth policy design, planning and implementation of eHealth solutions remains fragmented, based on individual communication but not on systemic stakeholders’ participation and matching of interests.
The interviews evidenced several basic challenges on the interviewees’ opinions creating the majority of problems in eHealth development. Among those are the following: balancing eHealth system development top down and bottom up; compatibility of diverse information systems; stakeholders’ involvement and cooperation; budgeting of eHealth system creation, implementation and maintenance.

Keywords


eHealth; eHealth elements; stakeholders; information technologies

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13165/SPV-14-1-6-07

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"Health Policy and Management" ISSN online 2029-9001 / ISSN print 2029-3569