Information Technology Management Decision Making in Senior Care Organizations: A New Paradigm for a Post-COVID-19 Era
Information technology innovation (IT) is a field that aims at understanding the factors that facilitate or hinder the adoption, diffusion, and widespread use of technology-based innovations (Swanson, 1994; Fichman, 2000). IT innovation has come a long way in health care, especially in hospitals and clinics. Nevertheless, the extent of use of health IT in the context of senior care remains limited. Although prior studies have examined technologies that can support senior care including home telemonitoring devices, fall detection technologies, assisted living technologies, etc. (Kitsiou et al., 2015; Khosravi and Ghapanchi, 2016; Jaana and Pare, 2020), research on senior care organizations and their implementation of health IT is lacking.
Senior care organizations refer to organizations that provide services and care to older people. The COVID‑19 crisis shed light on problems in senior care organizations, which can benefit from technological solutions to connect seniors and help them get optimal care. Nevertheless, in order to ensure effectiveness of health IT in these settings, it is first important to understand the senior care organizations environment and the decision-making process related to health IT implementation in these settings. Little is known about the management in these settings, and the information needs of managers/leaders who make decisions about new health IT. The proposed project addresses this gap and centers on the real-world environment and key decision-makers in senior care organizations to answer the following question: What are the management practices in senior care organizations, and how are health IT decisions made in these settings?
Given the exploratory nature of this research and the limited available information and resources on senior care organizations, this project will consist of three stages that employ qualitative and mixed methods research approaches. First, a scoping review will be developed to identify the breadth and scope of research on senior care organizations management, in general and relation to health IT. This review will produce evidence on the management and organization research in these settings to better situate this project and provide context to the next stages. Second, a case study will be conducted at the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre (PRVHC), one of Ontario’s largest and most progressive long-term care homes. This organization has been on the forefront in expanding its programs and services, and seeking innovative solutions to address seniors’ needs. The case study will produce a better understanding of health IT management and decision-making in a senior care organization environment, which will inform the third stage of this project. Third, an iterative three-round Delphi survey will be conducted to solicit the input of a panel of 20-25 leaders/decision-makers in senior care organizations in the Ottawa region on the key dimensions/factors that they consider essential to inform their decision-making and choice about the implementation of health IT solutions.
This project initiates collaboration with senior care organizations, which will produce knowledge that equally benefits the research and practice communities. During the COVID‑19 crisis, we observed reports highlighting seniors’ social isolation, fast deterioration in their health condition, and the challenges in sustaining the same level of services and care provided them. In this project, we make a first step towards understanding this environment and health IT decision-making, with the goal of supporting the effective leveraging of health IT in these organizations in order to address the increasing demands and challenges that they are facing.