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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

IT-adoption and the interaction of task, technology and individuals: a fit framework and a case study

Elske Ammenwerth1*, Carola Iller2 and Cornelia Mahler3

Author affiliations

1 Institute for Health Information Systems, UMIT – University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology, Hall in Tyrol, Austria

2 Institute for Educational Science, University of Heidelberg, Germany

3 Dept. of Psychiatry, University Hospitals of Heidelberg, Germany

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Citation and License

BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2006, 6:3  doi:10.1186/1472-6947-6-3

Published: 9 January 2006

Abstract

Background

Factors of IT adoption have largely been discussed in the literature. However, existing frameworks (such as TAM or TTF) are failing to include one important aspect, the interaction between user and task.

Method

Based on a literature study and a case study, we developed the FITT framework to help analyse the socio-organisational-technical factors that influence IT adoption in a health care setting.

Results

Our FITT framework ("Fit between Individuals, Task and Technology") is based on the idea that IT adoption in a clinical environment depends on the fit between the attributes of the individual users (e.g. computer anxiety, motivation), attributes of the technology (e.g. usability, functionality, performance), and attributes of the clinical tasks and processes (e.g. organisation, task complexity). We used this framework in the retrospective analysis of a three-year case study, describing the adoption of a nursing documentation system in various departments in a German University Hospital. We will show how the FITT framework helped analyzing the process of IT adoption during an IT implementation: we were able to describe every found IT adoption problem with regard to the three fit dimensions, and any intervention on the fit can be described with regard to the three objects of the FITT framework (individual, task, technology). We also derive facilitators and barriers to IT adoption of clinical information systems.

Conclusion

This work should support a better understanding of the reasons for IT adoption failures and therefore enable better prepared and more successful IT introduction projects. We will discuss, however, that from a more epistemological point of view, it may be difficult or even impossible to analyse the complex and interacting factors that predict success or failure of IT projects in a socio-technical environment.