Information Technology (IT) Interconnectivity in a Rural Health Setting: A Conceptual Model
Current and past developments in Health (HIT) systems in rural settings have focused on the use of electronic health records by health professionals. These systems were conducted in standalone mode, or coupled with the integration of HIT systems of two or more other HIT systems. In addition, this lack of interconnectivity involved diminished coordination in information sharing among the systems (Bahensky 2008; McCullough 2009). Grossman (2006) and Kevin (2008) investigated the state of HIT systems’ interconnectivity using networks in a rural health setting to promote sharing and communication of HIT systems. The authors found scanty information and limited initiatives to interconnect HIT systems. According to these authors, rural health settings face problems of purchase decision and implementation of HIT incorporating interconnectivity of the systems. More recent studies allude to the importance and need for rural health settings to foster interconnectivity among existing systems (Moidduddin 2007; Blumenthal 2009). Thus, there is also a need for using HIT systems that are proficient HIT interconnectivity systems. Brodkin (2007) noted enabling the HIT systems to communicate and share information effectively and efficiently can be achieved through HIT interconnectivity of existing systems for both rural and urban settings. The phenomenon of “HIT interconnectivity” being investigated in this study is not well understood in the literature (Trimmer, Pumphrey, and Wiggins, 2002). The proposed “Six-Factor Information Technology Interconnectivity (SFITI) Model” that rural health clinic administrators can use during HIT decision-making processes to generate new solutions provides an innovative approach. In addition, the proposed “Information Technology Interconnectivity in Rural Health (ITIRH) Survey” will serve as a new instrument for conducting research associated with HIT systems’ need, diffusion, implementation, reflection, interconnectivity, and environment. The proposed SFITI model and proposed ITIRH survey, novel forms of HIT innovation, are being developed. The purpose is to improve the structure and dynamics of HIT systems’ efficiency, clinical effectiveness, cost effectiveness, and productivity in rural health settings.