Diffusion of Telemedicine: a Multiple Case Study of Factors Influencing the Adoption of Telemedicine Technology

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School of Business | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Information and Service Management (ISM)
The use of telemedicine has been an emerging phenomenon in healthcare during past decades. In short, the term telemedicine refers to the process of exchanging of clinical information between two or more spatially separated parties. Telemedicine technology can be used to deliver medical knowledge and know-how to areas where this expertise is not otherwise available. In addition, telemedicine technology might prove to be beneficial for healthcare organizations in their pursuit to seek cost-savings and increased quality of service provided for the patients. Although the information technology enabling the use of telemedicine systems has been developing at a fast pace, the diffusion of telemedicine technology in healthcare organizations has been modest. Several studies have been conducted on the acceptance of telemedicine technology but most of the emerged results could not be generalized in wider use due to the narrow scopes of the studies. Telemedicine systems implementation still lacks the best practices and solid evidence to back up the criteria to be considered when developing, deploying and using telemedicine technologies. This thesis aims to increase knowledge about the factors affecting telemedicine adoption in individual and organizational level. To study the factors influencing the rate of diffusion of telemedicine technology in Finnish healthcare organizations, six case studies of telemedicine development, deployment and use are studied through analysis of semi-structured interviews. The empirical data gathered from the interviews is reflected with the prior academic literature on telemedicine diffusion explained through technology adoption models. The key findings of the study suggest that the demonstrability of telemedicine technology’s potential benefits, organizational structures that include telemedicine practices in daily routine and sufficient allocation of time to telemedicine use have the most substantial impact on telemedicine adoption. On the other hand, the protective organizational cultures and unclear benefits of the technology are likely to hinder the rate of the adoption in healthcare organizations.
Thesis advisor
Rossi, Matti
telemedicine, healthcare, technology adoption, information systems
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