Original Research

Health information systems to improve health care: A telemedicine case study

Liezel Cilliers, Stephen V. Flowerday
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 15, No 1 | a541 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v15i1.541 | © 2013 Liezel Cilliers, Stephen V. Flowerday | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 September 2012 | Published: 27 March 2013

About the author(s)

Liezel Cilliers, Department of Information Systems, University of Fort Hare, South Africa
Stephen V. Flowerday, Department of Information Systems, University of Fort Hare, South Africa

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Background: E-health has been identified as an integral part of the future of South African public healthcare. Telemedicine was first introduced in South Africa in 1997 and since then the cost of running the Telemedicine projects has increased substantially. Despite these efforts to introduce the system, only 34% of the Telemedicine sites in South Africa are functional at present.

Objectives: Literature has suggested that one of the barriers to the successful implementation of health information systems is the user acceptance by health care workers of systems such as Telemedicine. This study investigated the user acceptance of Telemedicine in the public health care system in the Eastern Cape Province, making use of the Unified Theory of the Use and Acceptance of Technology.

Method: The study employed a quantitative survey approach. A questionnaire was developed making use of existing literature and was distributed to various clinics around the province where Telemedicine has been implemented. Statistics were produced making use of Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS).

Results: In general, the health care workers did understand the value and benefit of health information systems to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the health care system. The barriers to the effective implementation of a health information system include the lack of knowledge and the lack of awareness regarding the Telemedicine system. This in turn means that the user is apprehensive when making use of the system thus contributing to less frequent usage.

Conclusion: Health care workers do acknowledge that information systems can help to increase the effectiveness of the health care system. In general, the acceptance of Telemedicine in the Eastern Cape Department of Health is positive, but in order to integrate it into standard work practices, more must be done with regards to the promotion and education of telemedicine.


Health Information System; Telemedicine; Unified theory of Use and Acceptance of Technology; E-health


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