Gang Peng, Mihaylo College ISDS Associate Professor

ISDS Associate Professor Gang Peng. Photo from CSUF News

Noting that U.S. health care is both the most expensive in the world and still inefficient and unreliable, Cal State Fullerton Mihaylo College Associate Professor of Information Systems and Decision Sciences (ISDS) Gang Peng recognizes the imperative of finding cost-effective solutions through health care information technology (HIT).

“HIT has the potential to significantly reduce medical errors and streamline clinical processes, thereby containing health care costs, and ultimately improving the overall quality, safety and efficiency of American health care,” he says.

Presenting his research methodology and findings to the Titan community at a talk at the Pollak Library on Oct. 28, Peng focused on acute care providers or hospitals as part of a network of other similar institutions and that the interplay between these actors has much to do with technology adoption – or the lack thereof.

“Since the HITECH Act of 2009, passed by the Obama Administration, there have been big incentives for the adoption of HIT, especially electronic medical records,” explained Peng. “However, it might be surprising that more connection with other doctors actually translates to less likely use of e-health systems.”

He consulted the HIMSS database, a commonly consulted analytical source for HIT-related topics.

While there are more than 100 types of HIT, Peng’s investigation focused on clinical data repository (CDR), a real-time database that brings together data from a range of clinical sources to present a unified view of a given patient. CDR is one of eight electronic medical record applications, and it is the foundation of HIT.

“Hospitals are increasingly working together – through integrated health care delivery systems (IHDS). Kaiser Permanente is the extreme example of this, but even formerly individual hospitals are coming together to some extent,” said Peng. “This is why it is important to have a holistic view of these organizational networks and recognize technology adoption as essentially a process of knowledge transfer.”

Peng’s findings also show that larger and more urban hospitals are more likely to adopt new technologies, as compared to their rural counterparts. While improving care for the majority of patients living in urban settings, Peng believes this urban-rural dichotomy is unfortunate, since the greater geographical distances often involved in care in rural settings might make HIT even more impactful in those settings, though a lack of support and financial hindrances are limitations there.

Looking to the future, Peng believes that certain HIT will eventually plateau, but that there is still significant ground to gain in digitizing care, with many layers yet to be adopted by most institutions. The potential for growth is even larger when considering that while Europe and Australia are relatively advanced as compared with the U.S., most of the rest of the world lags far behind.

For More on ISDS

The Mihaylo College ISDS department is ranked 70th globally among similar entities for faculty publications in industry journals, according to AIS Rankings. Faculty members such as Ofir Turel are world leaders in examining the current state and the future of the information systems field and its practical implications.

Seeking a future in information systems? Mihaylo College offers undergraduate and graduate programs that prepare students for careers in such in-demand fields as data analytics, decision sciences and information technology. For more information, visit the Mihaylo College ISDS department website.

Read more articles about Information Systems and Decisions Sciences.