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Researchers from HEC, the Telfer School, and Université Laval will study the diffusion of IT innovation in healthcare from a socio-cognitive perspective with a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Guy Paré of HEC Montréal, Mirou Jaana of Telfer and Josianne Marsan of Laval are exploring why some innovations become highly popular and others do not. The public discourse surrounding three core health IT innovations which are at different stages in the institutionalization process will be examined, taking into account vendors and other groups of entrepreneurs.

The socio-cognitive perspective stipulates that an IT innovation not only takes place in adopter organizations, but also exists in a collective environment where institutional entrepreneurs are interested in developing the innovation as a concept. The present study builds on the idea that every IT innovation concept comes with an organizational vision that explains what the innovation is about, why organizations should adopt it and how. Two functions of the organizing vision will be investigated: legitimation and interpretation. While it is recognized that different stakeholders build legitimacy for health IT innovations, how this process unfolds or the impact of different legitimation strategies on IT diffusion outcomes has not been studied.

There is considerable variation in Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) adoption in clinical practices and the present study investigates the relationship between physicians’ perceptions of the organizing vision of EMRs and the assimilation of this innovation into their practices. The results will inform better decision-making among healthcare organizations that must choose whether or not to adopt health IT innovations and offer a deeper understanding of innovation diffusion and the role of IT vendors and institutional entrepreneurs.


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