Empowering Physicians with Health Information Technology: An Empirical Investigation in Chinese Hospitals

Chen, Y., Aljafari, R., Xiao, B., and Venkatesh, V. “Empowering Physicians with Health Information Technology: An Empirical Investigation in Chinese Hospitals,” Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, (28:5), 2021, 915-922.

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Objective: Few studies examine physicians’ use of different features of health information technology (HIT) in relation to their psychological empowerment and stress, especially in China, where many hospitals are being pushed to share digitized medical information. Further, there are mixed findings about the impact of HIT on stress, with some studies suggesting that HIT increases stress and others suggesting no effect. Hence, there is a need for a nuanced view of HITs to incorporate different features, regions, and outcomes. This work seeks to extend the existing body of knowledge on HIT by assessing the effects of basic (data-related) and advanced (clinical) HIT features on physician empowerment, stress, and ultimately, job satisfaction in Chinese hospitals. Materials and Methods: We surveyed 367 physicians at 5 class 3 hospitals (ie, regional hospitals that provide specialist medical and healthcare services and carry out high levels of teaching and scientific research tasks) in 5 provinces in China. We specified and estimated a structural equation model using partial least squares. Results: Physicians who used advanced features experienced improvement in all dimensions of physician empowerment and significant reduction in stress. Physicians who used basic technology, however, experienced improvement in fewer dimensions of physician empowerment and no significant change in stress. Except for efficacy, all dimensions of physician empowerment and stress predicted job satisfaction. Conclusions: Healthcare professionals should assess the purpose of HIT features and expect different effects on intermediate and ultimate outcomes. The nuanced view of HIT features and processes leading to outcomes sheds light on their differential effects and resolves inconsistencies in prior findings on HIT effects.
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