Ladan, Muhammad Awwal, Heather Wharrad, & Richard Windle (2019). eHealth adoption and use among healthcare professionals in a tertiary hospital in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Q-methodology study. PeerJ: the Journal of Life and Environmental Sciences, 7(e6326). 21 pp. (doi: 10.7717/peerj.6326) (Link: http://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.6326)
Abstract: Background : The aim of the study was to explore the viewpoints of healthcare professionals (HCPs) on the adoption and use of eHealth in clinical practice in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Information and communication technologies (ICTs) including eHealth provide HCPs the opportunity to provide quality healthcare to their patients while also improving their own clinical practices. Despite this, previous research has identified these technologies have their associated challenges when adopting them for clinical practice. But more research is needed to identify how these eHealth resources influence clinical practice. In addition, there is still little information about adoption and use of these technologies by HCPs in clinical practice in Sub-Saharan Africa. Method : An exploratory descriptive design was adopted for this study. Thirty-six (36) HCPs (18 nurses and 18 physicians) working in the clinical area in a tertiary health institution in SSA participated in this study. Using Q methodology, study participants rank-ordered forty-six statements in relation to their adoption and use of eHealth within their clinical practice. This was analysed using by-person factor analysis and complemented with audio-taped interviews. Results : The analysis yielded four factors; i.e., distinct viewpoints the HCPs hold about adoption and use of eHealth within their clinical practice. These factors include: “Patient-focused eHealth advocates” who use the eHealth because they are motivated by patients and their families preferences; “Task-focused eHealth advocates” use eHealth because it helps them complete clinical tasks; “Traditionalistic-pragmatists” recognise contributions eHealth makes in clinical practice but separate from their routine clinical activities; and the “Tech-focused eHealth advocates” who use the eHealth because they are motivated by the technology itself. Conclusion : The study shows the equivocal viewpoints that HCPs have about eHealth within their clinical practice. This, in addition to adding to existing literature, will help policymakers/decision makers to consider HCPs views about these technologies prior to implementing an eHealth resource. [In the Acknowledgements, the authors thank “the T&Q community UK and the Qmethodology listserv for their valuable feedback during the analysis stage.”]
Muhammad Awwal Ladan <firstname.lastname@example.org> is affiliated with Digital Innovations in Education and Healthcare (DICE), School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK and with the Department of Nursing Sciences, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.