E-health : Internet Penetration
With extensive Internet penetration together with the enormous progress in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), the e-health strategy has been initiated and accepted as a vital and important component in healthcare systems. There remains however recurrent concerns regarding the adequacy of resources and the way they are currently used. Thus, user acceptance issues gain increasing significance as the proper tools of ICT continue to penetrate the health sector.
In Mauritius, most developments of ICT in the health sector suffered from lack of sustained use owing to an indifferent deployment, notably associated with the lack of research and studies to discuss the adoption of e-health projects. In this respect, this research is pertinent and timely as the Mauritian government is aiming to explore for innovative ways to improve the outcomes of health-care and public-health initiatives. The objectives of the study were to examine the prospects of e-health as well as to contest the perceived e-health challenges for the healthcare system to experience a substantial change in access, adoption, and optimal utilisation of ICT in Mauritius.
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A mixed-method approach was adopted to analyze the perception of the health professionals concerning the research subject and triangulation technique including a structured questionnaire, interviews, and focus groups were used as the tool for data collection in this investigation. The sampling design for the survey comprised of a stratified random sampling to ensure that individuals from all the categories included in the study are represented. The responses were analysed statistically using both descriptive and inferential analysis, and the results were presented either in text, charts or tables. Overall, the findings of the study found the development of e-health as an ideal opportunity for enhanced quality of service and efficient delivery of health care services in Mauritius.
The Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) model developed by Venkatesh et al. (2003) was used as a basis for testing factors of technology acceptance. The results revealed significant associations between factors included to the UTAUT model and behaviour intention to accept e-health system. Furthermore, added constructs to the UTAUT model such as user participation in decision-making, hierarchical level of respondents, and country of medical or professional education also showed a positive impact on behavioral intention.
This study has significantly expanded and improved upon the existing knowledge of e-health service adoption within the public health sector of Mauritius. It has also provided an understanding and the need to focus on the right strategy to enhance and scale-up the use of Information System into healthcare delivery to choose on the way forward. The recommendations will also be useful to promote and support national platforms and consultative process for mainstreaming of e-health in the national development agenda including the health sector strategy.