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Interact J Med Res. 2012 Dec 6;1(2):e20. doi: 10.2196/ijmr.2357.

Issues Regarding the Implementation of eHealth: Preparing for Future Influenza Pandemics.

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  • 1Asia-Pacific Ubiquitous Healthcare Research Centre, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.



eHealth is a tool that may be used to facilitate responses to influenza pandemics. Prior to implementation of eHealth in the hospital setting, assessment of the organizational preparedness is an important step in the planning process. Including this step may increase the chance of implementation success.


To identify the preparedness issues in relation to implementation of eHealth for future influenza pandemics.


One hospital was selected in Australia for this study. We conducted 12 individual interviews to gather a rich data set in relation to eHealth preparedness in the context of the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) pandemic at this major teaching hospital. These participants' views were analyzed according to five main themes: (1) challenges in present practices or circumstances for pandemic responses, which indicates a need for change, (2) healthcare providers' exposure to eHealth, (3) organizational technological capacity to support an IT innovation for medical practices, (4) resource preparedness, and (5) socio-cultural issues in association with eHealth implementation in response to a pandemic.


This article reports a subset of the issues identified during the case study. These issues include, for example, poor sharing of patient health records, poor protection of patient privacy, clinicians' concerns about IT reliability and dissatisfaction with the software in use, clinicians' concerns about IT's impact on professional autonomy versus having inefficient IT support, and inefficient communication across departments in the form of consultation.


Based on discussions with the participants and interpretation of their responses, we assessed the hospital's preparedness status and also identified areas of deficiency. Accordingly, we suggest possible solutions for the areas in need of improvement to facilitate eHealth implementation's success. The study results will also provide policymakers at national, state and local levels with insights to refine relevant public health policies for the planning and management of pandemics from the eHealth perspective.


case study; eHealth; influenza pandemic; preparedness assessment

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