Rural-Urban Healthcare Access Inequality Challenge: Transformative Roles of Information Technology

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Publication History

Received: January 6, 2017
Revised: April 3, 2018; May 5, 2019; August 2, 2020; June 24, 2021; November 25, 2021
Accepted: December 20, 2021
Published Online as Articles in Advance: November 18, 2022
Published in Issue: Forthcoming

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Rural-urban healthcare access inequality refers to a disparity between rural and urban people with severe medical ailments in gaining access to the high-quality healthcare services they need. Although much hope has been pinned on the use of health information technology (HIT) to alleviate this critical and enduring societal challenge, the realized societal impact of HIT is unclear. Anchoring on both social transformation theory and affordance actualization theory, we conducted an in-depth qualitative study with two rounds of data collection in China. In addition to investigating how the societal challenge has triggered transformative HIT interventions, our analysis contributes to a theory on an HIT solution for the rural-urban healthcare access inequality challenge by establishing a link between HIT affordances and HIT interventions. This is done by examining how microlevel HIT effects escalate to macrolevel HIT effects through societal-level affordance actualization, which can affect this healthcare access inequality challenge. Along with providing policy implications on introducing HIT solutions to address intricate and complex societal challenges, this study extends existing theories by revealing the adaptation of the HIT intervention and differentiating the effects of collective and shared affordances.

Additional Details
Author Yu Tong, Chuan-Hoo Tan, Choon Ling Sia, Yani Shi, and Hock-Hai Teo
Year 2022
Volume 46
Issue 4
Keywords Healthcare IT, healthcare inequality, social transformation theory, affordance actualization
Page Numbers 1937-1982
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