Persuading influential medical centers to adopt electronic medical records helps speed adoption by their neighboring hospitals, according to a new report.
A new study detailed in the current issue of Management Science focused on what mechanisms could be used to influence the diffusion of technological innovations at hospitals.
Using a "social contagion" model, the researchers -- Corey Angst and Ken Kelley of the University of Notre Dame, Ritu Agarwal of the University of Maryland; and V. Sambamurthy of Michigan State University -- studied the diffusion of electronic medical records from 1975 to 2005 in almost 4,000 U.S. hospitals.
What they found: hospitals have mutual influence on each other for the adoption of information technology, and that adoption is accelerated if additional attention is given to boosting the adoption of well-known, larger, older hospitals in densely populated geographic regions.
The researchers write:
With respect to susceptibility to influence, greater hospital size and age are positively related to the likelihood of adoption for nonadopters, whereas younger hospitals are associated with greater infectiousness for adopters. A hospital's "celebrity" status also contributes to its infectiousness. We further find strong effects for social proximity and significant regional effects for spatial proximity and hospital size, suggesting that geographical covariates should be included in diffusion studies.
You could call it another edition of "science proves the obvious," but it's an important thing to remember in the push to get doctors and nurses on board with EMRs.
Last year, Congress allocated $19.2 billion in stimulus funds to support the adoption and use of health information technology to reduce clerical errors and costs in the healthcare industry. Perhaps this study shows how best to use those funds to achieve that goal.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com