Electronic health records (EHR) are a promising form of health information technology that could help US hospitals improve on their quality of care and costs. During the study period explored (2005-2009), high expectations for EHR diffused across institutional stakeholders in the healthcare environment, which may have pressured hospitals to have EHR capabilities even in the presence of weak technical rationale for the technology. Using an extensive set of organizational theory-specific predictors, this study explored whether five factors - cause, constituents, content, context, and control - that reflect the nature of institutional pressures for EHR capabilities motivated hospitals to comply with these pressures. Using information from several national data bases, an ordered probit regression model was estimated. The resulting predicted probabilities of EHR capabilities from the empirical model's estimates were used to test the study's five hypotheses, of which three were supported. When the underlying cause, dependence on constituents, or influence of control were high and potential countervailing forces were low, hospitals were more likely to employ strategic responses that were compliant with the institutional pressures for EHR capabilities. In light of these pressures, hospitals may have acquiesced, by having comprehensive EHR capabilities, or compromised, by having intermediate EHR capabilities, in order to maintain legitimacy in their environment. The study underscores the importance of our assessment for theory and policy development, and provides suggestions for future research.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- History and Philosophy of Science