CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study
Information technology (IT) is the application of
computers and telecommunications equipment to store, retrieve, transmit and
manipulate data, often in the context of a business or other enterprise. The
term is commonly used as a synonym for computers and computer networks, but it
also encompasses other information distribution technologies such as television
and telephones. Several industries are associated with information technology,
including computer hardware, software, electronics, semiconductors, internet,
telecom equipment, engineering, healthcare, e-commerce and computer services
population now exceeds six billion of which more than 4.7 billion reside in the
developing world. As the population is increasing there is a need to find ways
of improving efficiency and quality of health care delivery systems in
developing countries especially in Nigeria where this research is conducted.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has been identified as a vehicle
with the potential to improve the quality of health care systems as well as the
efficiency and service delivery of the health workers both in the developed and
developing countries. Information and communication technologies have changed
the face of the world we live in (Jensen, 1998).
enables people to communicate with family, friends and colleagues around the
world instantaneously, gain access to global libraries, information resources,
and numerous other opportunities. ICT may also bring an improvement in health
care service delivery systems. So, we may define information technology as one
of the driving forces of globalization.
the year 2001, there has been a revolutionary growth in the telephony industry
which is a major branch of information technology in Nigeria. This is expected
to have permeated the health care institutions with significant positive impact
on health care service delivery. Two years after the introduction of GSM in
Nigeria, conducted an interview among medical practitioners in some Nigerian
teaching hospitals to find out the current level of utilization of telephones
for health care service delivery. They noted that medical experts use their
personal mobile phones to facilitate patient care at their own expense. Neither
the government nor hospital management had taken up the responsibility.
Currently, the number of GSM service providers in the country has increased
significantly and all of them keep rolling out several service options or
packages including internet services with varying benefits to attract customers
(Agboola, 2003). Although, A GSM based referral system was developed, validated
and recommended for use in the primary health care centres. The extent to which
the growth in telecommunication has impacted tertiary health care service delivery
and how far this has enhanced the development of an ICT –driven health care
practice in Nigeria is still to be known. This has necessitated the need for
study into the relationship between information technology and service delivery
in tertiary hospitals in River State.
production of quality health-care service delivery in a country is guided by
the level of the information technology infrastructure possessed and used by
that country. A good information technology infrastructure, therefore, is a prerequisite
for enhancing the well-being of a country. Gates (1999) reported that intra-
and inter-organizational networks in some advanced countries function like a
digital neural system of the organization. Thus, he inferred that information communication
for health purposes has shifted from the largely manual or physical documentary
method to digital communication. He further stated that such access to information
technology has helped disseminate information to the rest of the world.
American doctors are now able to collaborate as often and as quickly as they
want with other medical doctors in other parts of the world through the use of information
technology. For example, while examining a patient, a medical doctor might be
able to send an electronic x-ray of a patient to a leading expert in another
country who could readily interpret and provide more details of the disease or
condition, as well as send feedback to the medical doctor all within a few
minutes. Medical researchers, in their research and application processes, can
use the Internet to identify research issues, search literature databases, seek
out information on surveys and clinical trials, and published research results.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
studies have reported on information technology use among medical and health
workers reported that while information technology capabilities (personal
computers, mobile phones, Internet) were available in Nigerian teaching
hospitals, mobile phones were spreading fast. Information technology has
greatly advanced the course of health delivery in advanced countries. It is
also a known fact that computers and mobile phones were in use in all the
teaching hospitals but not much Internet connectivity was available, meaning
that most of the medical experts used external (non hospital) Internet
services, such as cybercafés, for even rudimentary Internet access, such as
e-mail. Several research further explained that while just 1.4% of the medical
staff did not use the Internet in any fashion, the vast majority (70.7%) of
those using the Internet did so only for e-mail. However, the researcher is
examining the effect of information technology on service delivery in Nigerian
1.3 Purpose/objectives of the Study
following are the objectives of this study:
determine the level of use of information technology in the tertiary hospitals
in Rivers State.
examine the relationship between information technology and service delivery in
tertiary hospitals in Rivers State.
ascertain the factors limiting the use of information technology in tertiary
hospitals in Rivers State.
1.4 Research Questions
is the level of use of information technology in the tertiary hospitals in
is the relationship between information technology and service delivery in
tertiary hospitals in Rivers State?
are the factors limiting the use of information technology in tertiary
hospitals in Rivers State?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
There is no significant relationship between information technology and service
delivery in tertiary hospitals in Rivers State.
There is significant relationship between information technology and service
delivery in tertiary hospitals in Rivers State.
1.6 Significance of the Study
following are the significance of this study:
from this study will educate the administrators in the Nigeria health sector on
the benefit of information technology on service delivery if applied in the
research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers
interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if
applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic.
1.7 Scope of the Study
study on information technology and service delivery will cover the level of
use of information technology based system in the tertiary hospitals in Rivers
state considering its effect on health care service delivery.
1.8 Limitation of the study
constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency
of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or
information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and
constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this
study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time
devoted for the research work.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Information technology: the
study or use of systems (especially computers and telecommunications) for
storing, retrieving, and sending information.
Tertiary hospitals: A
tertiary referral hospital (also called a tertiary hospital, tertiary referral center, or tertiary care center, or tertiary center) is a hospital that provides tertiary care, which is health care
from specialists in a large hospital
after referral from primary care and secondary care.
(1998). Africa Internet Connectivity: Information and Communication
technologies (ICTs) Telecommunications, Internet and Computer Infrastructure in
Africa.. Retrieved from The Association for Progressive Communications Web
Agboola, A.A. ‚Inform Technology, Bank Automation and Attitude of Workers in Nigerian
Banks‛ in Journal of Social Sciences, Kamla-Raj Enterprises, Gali Bari
Paharwali, India, 2003
Gates, E.W. (1999) ‚Information Technology in the Nigerian Health Industry‛
Spectrum Ibadan, 2000.
Wikipedia (2015): www.wikipedia.com