Information Systems Frontiers

, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 1177–1190 | Cite as

Understanding health information technology adoption: A synthesis of literature from an activity perspective



The vast body of literature on health information technology (HIT) adoption features considerably heterogeneous factors and demands for a synthesis of the knowledge in the field. This study employs text mining and network analysis techniques to identify the important concepts and their relationships in the abstracts of 979 articles of HIT adoption. Through the lens of Activity Theory, the revealed concept map of HIT adoption can be viewed as a complex activity system involving different users, technologies and tasks at both the individual level and the social level. Such a synthesis not only discloses the current knowledge domain of HIT adoption, but also provides guidance for future research on HIT adoption.


Activity theory Health information technology System adoption Text mining Network analysis Literature synthesis 


Appendix: Glossary of terms

Health information technology (HIT)

The umbrella term that refers to the application of information processing involving both computer hardware and software that deals with the storage, retrieval, sharing, and use of health care information, data, and knowledge for communication and decision making (Brailer and Thompson 2004).

Picture archiving & communication systems (PACS)

A medical imaging technology which provides economical storage of and convenient access to, images from multiple sources (Choplin 1992).

Computerized physician order entry (CPOE)

An application that allows healthcare providers in hospitals and clinics to use computers to enter medical orders (e.g. medication, laboratory, admission, radiology, referral, and procedure orders) electronically for the treatment of their patients (Kuperman and Gibson 2003; Sittig and Steed 1994).

Electronic prescription (E-prescription)

An application that allows a physician, physician assistant, or nurse to transmit a new or renewal prescription to a pharmacy rather than filling out a paper prescription (Grossman et al. 2007).


The use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to help remote areas (e.g. rural communities) eliminate distance barriers and improve access to medical services (Berman and Fenaughty 2005).

Clinical decision support systems (CDSS)

An interactive decision support system (DSS) designed to help physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners make decisions, such as determining diagnosis based on patient data (Berner 2007).

Electronic medical records (EMR)

Digital versions of paper charts that contain the medical and treatment history of the patients from one practice for providers to use for diagnosis and treatment (Miller 1993).

Electronic health records (EHR)

An evolving concept that generally refers to the systematic collection of digital records about individual patients or populations for the use and exchange of them across different health care settings (Gunter and Terry 2005).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Business AdministrationUniversity of Texas-Rio Grande ValleyEdinburgUSA
  2. 2.School of ManagementFudan UniversityShanghaiChina

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