There is evidence to suggest that health professionals are reluctant to accept and utilise information and communication technologies (ICT) and concern is growing within health informatics research that this is contributing to the lag in adoption and utilisation of ICT across the health sector. Technology acceptance research within the field of information systems has been limited in its application to health and there is a concurrent need to develop and gain empirical support for models of technology acceptance within health and to examine acceptance and utilisation issues amongst health professionals to improve the success of information system implementation in this arena. There is a paucity of information relating to acceptance and utilisation of ICT amongst occupational therapists (OTs), yet it is vital that this unique group of professionals are aptly prepared to accept new technologies that will ultimately be introduced in their work places and through their involvement with clients. This research proposes to address these issues by examining ICT acceptance and utilisation by Australian OTs. A three-phase study design is proposed to collect substantial quantitative, qualitative and longitudinal data on technology acceptance and use amongst OTs. Phase I consists of the development of a preliminary research model of ICT acceptance, questionnaire development and pre-testing and conducting focus groups to obtain qualitative data. A non-experimental survey research design will be utilised in phase II, involving a national survey sent to ~6500 Australian OTs to provide cross-sectional data on behavioural intention and acceptance of ICT. Phase III is a naturalistic inquiry, involving a longitudinal multi-method field study to apply the research model to two healthcare organisations, providing both quantitative and qualitative longitudinal data on actual usage and acceptance of ICT.
The primary outcome of the research will be the development and validation of a model of technology acceptance behaviour by OTs. The theoretical significance of this work is that it uses a thoroughly constructed research model, with potentially the largest sample size ever tested, to extend technology acceptance research into the health sector.
The results of this study will have practical and theoretical applications for five major stakeholder groups: professionals and researchers in the field of health informatics and information systems, tertiary educators, Commonwealth and State Governments and the profession of occupational therapy.