Why hospitals adopt patient engagement functionalities at different speeds? A moderated trend analysis


Objective To investigate acute care hospitals’ adoption speed of patient engagement health information technology (HIT) functionalities from 2008 to 2013 and how this speed is contingent on environmental factors and hospital characteristics. Methods Data on non-government acute care hospitals located in the United States was obtained from merging three databases: the American Hospital Association's (AHA) annual survey information technology supplement, AHA annual survey, and the Area Health Resource File (AHRF). The variables obtained from these datasets were the amount of annually adopted patient engagement HIT functionalities and environmental and organizational characteristics. Environmental factors included were uncertainty, munificence, and complexity. Hospital characteristics included size, system membership, ownership, and teaching status. Results A regression analysis of 4176 hospital-year observations revealed a positive trend in the adoption of HIT functionalities for patient engagement (β= 1.109, p < 0.05). Moreover, the study showed that large, system-affiliated, not-for-profit, teaching hospitals adopt patient engagement HIT functionalities at a faster speed than their counterparts. Environmental munificence and uncertainty were also associated with an accelerating speed of adoption. Environmental complexity however did not show a significant impact on the speed of adoption. Discussion From 2008 to 2013, there was a significant acceleration in the speed of adopting patient engagement HIT functionalities. Further efforts should be made to ensure proper adoption and consistent use by patients in order to reap the benefits of these IT investments. Conclusion Hospitals adopted at least one HIT functionality for patient engagement per year. The adoption speed varied across hospitals, depending on both environmental and organizational factors.

Publication Title

International Journal of Medical Informatics