Understanding the role of technology in health information systems

Lewis, Don, Hodge, Nicola, Gamage, Duminda and Whittaker, Maxine (2012) Understanding the role of technology in health information systems. Pacific Health Dialog, 18 1: 144-154.

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Author Lewis, Don
Hodge, Nicola
Gamage, Duminda
Whittaker, Maxine
Title Understanding the role of technology in health information systems
Journal name Pacific Health Dialog   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1015-7867
Publication date 2012-04
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 18
Issue 1
Start page 144
End page 154
Total pages 11
Editor Sitaleki Finau
Nicola Hodge
Place of publication Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Publisher Health Research Council of the Pacific
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Innovations in, and the use of emerging information and
communications technology (ICT) has rapidly increased
in all development contexts, including healthcare. It
is believed that the use of appropriate technologies
can increase the quality and reach of both information
and communication. However, decisions on what ICT
to adopt have often been made without evidence of
their effectiveness; or information on implications; or
extensive knowledge on how to maximise benefits from
their use. While it has been stated that ‘healthcare ICT
innovation can only succeed if design is deeply informed
by practice’,1 the large number of ‘failed’ ICT projects
within health indicates the limited application of such an

There is a large and growing body of work exploring
health ICT issues in the developed world, and some
specifically focusing on the developing country context
emerging from Africa and India; but not for the Pacific
Region. Health systems in the Pacific, while diverse
in many ways, are also faced with many common
problems including competing demands in the face
of limited resources, staff numbers, staff capacity and
infrastructure. Senior health managers in the region are
commonly asked to commit money, effort and scarce
manpower to supporting new technologies on proposals
from donor agencies or commercial companies, as well
as from senior staff within their system. The first decision
they must make is if the investment is both plausible and
reasonable; they must also secondly decide how the
investment should be made.

The objective of this article is three-fold: firstly, to
provide a common ‘language’ for categorising and
discussing health information systems, particularly those
in developing countries; secondly, to summarise the
potential benefits and opportunities offered by the use of
ICT in health; and thirdly, to discuss the critical factors
resulting in ICT success or failure, with an emphasis
on the differences between developed and developing
countries. Overall, this article aims to illuminate
the potential role of information and communication
technologies in health, specifically for Pacific Island
Countries and Territories (PICTs).
Keyword Information
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Special Edition: Health Information Systems in the Pacific

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
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Created: Fri, 04 Jan 2013, 09:41:30 EST by Geraldine Fitzgerald on behalf of School of Public Health