Doctors' tech adoption influenced by social circle

Author: Pamela Dolan

The following is an excerpt from American Medical News quoting Management Professor Corey Angst about his research on hospitals adopting electronic medical records To read the entire column, visit:  American Medical News

To figure out why physicians and hospitals are slow to adopt electronic medical records, researchers are looking at institutional and social networks to see if they can discover the key to overcoming resistance.

A study in the August Management Science posited that smaller and newer hospitals, and those that have some tech "celebrity" status, are the most likely to influence other hospitals to adopt EMRs.

An earlier report published in the May Journal of the American Informatics Assn. concluded that the most likely indicator of doctors' interest and use in EMRs is whether their friends use them. Not merely peers, but doctors they consider close on a personal or social level.

Both studies referred to something researchers call "social contagion" -- how peer networks influence someone to act, particularly when that action is done without someone perceiving any sort of influence being exerted. One person is the "carrier," who can spread the contagion to many.