LEARNING MECHANSIMS AND HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Kothari, Anupama Kunal
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Health information technology (HIT) is gaining momentum and widespread use globally in healthcare institutions through the implementation and use of HIT such as telemedicine and electronic medical records. Literature has discussed various aspects of health information technology such as increasing the accessibility of healthcare, improving the efficacy and reducing associated errors. However, the potential of HIT as a medium of learning has largely been ignored by extant literature. This dissertation seeks to understand the mechanisms of learning in the context of health information technologies, specifically- telemedicine and electronic medical records. The two essays investigate the characteristics of learning under telemedicine and under electronic records. The first essay uses a quantitative mode of investigation, while the second essay utilizes a qualitative mode of research. The first essay deals with telemedicine, a healthcare information technology that provides healthcare across geographic boundaries. The essay investigates how the telemedicine process facilitates synchronous learning in terms of a facilitator-learner theoretical model. It explores the impact of facilitator characteristics and learner characteristics on synchronous learning. Additionally, the essay also examines the impact of organizational variables such as technology on the relationship between learning and facilitator-learner mechanics. Data for this essay is drawn from surveys administered over several hospitals that use telemedicine in India. The second essay studies the role of electronic medical records in information dissemination and learning. In this essay, the role of electronic medical records in providing healthcare personnel with asynchronous learning opportunities is investigated. It explores the impact of individual and organizational factors on discovery learning through electronic medical records. The essay identifies factors such as case complexity, status, familiarity with technology and clinical specialty that influence learning through electronic medical records. The second essay draws on interviews of members of a healthcare team in a multiple specialty hospital that uses electronic medical records. Together, the essays explore various aspects of learning through health information technology, including synchronous learning, asynschronous learning, learning mechanics and motivations for learning.