Electronic Medical Record Adoption in Hospitals Sped by Key Medical Centers, Says Management Insights Study


Ashley Smith
Public Affairs Coordinator

HANOVER, MD, August 13, 2010 - Persuading influential medical centers to adopt electronic medical records helps speed adoption by their neighboring hospitals, according to the Management Insights feature in the current issue of Management Science, a flagship journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®).

Social Contagion and Information Technology Diffusion: The Adoption of Electronic Medical Records in U.S. Hospitals” is by Corey M. Angst and Ken Kelley of the University of Notre Dame; Ritu Agarwal of the University of Maryland; and V. Sambamurthy of Michigan State University.

Management Insights, a regular feature of the journal, is a digest of important research in business, management, operations research, and management science. It appears in every issue of the monthly journal.

The call for electronic medical records extends back to the Clinton and Bush administrations. In a State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush called for broad adoption of electronic medical records by the middle of this decade. Last year, President Barack Obama signed into law HR 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which allocates $19.2 billion in funding to support the adoption and use of health information technology to reduce clerical errors and costs in health care.

The authors of this study asked what mechanisms influence the swift and successful diffusion of technological innovations at hospitals. They use a “social contagion” model to study the diffusion of electronic medical records in the population of U.S. hospitals; hospitals have mutual influence on each other for information technology adoption.

The authors look at 20 years of data from almost 4,000 U.S. hospitals and write that diffusion is accelerated if specific attention is given to increasing adoption among well-known, larger, older hospitals in densely populated geographic regions. Their insight for management is that targeting specific influential institutions for a new technology can vastly increase its rate of adoption.

The current issue of Management Insights is available here. The full papers associated with the Insights are available to Management Science subscribers. Individual papers can be purchased at http://institutions.informs.org. Additional issues of Management Insights can be accessed here.

The other Insights in the current issue are:

  • The Lean and Hungry or Fat and Content? Entrepreneurs’ Wealth and Start-Up Performance by Hans K. Hvide, Jarle Moen
  • Strategic Entry Before Demand Takes Off by Qiaowei Shen, J. Miguel Villas-Boas
  • Optimal Choice and Beliefs with Ex Ante Savoring and Ex Post Disappointment by Christian Gollier, Alexander Muermann
  • Optimal Flexibility Configurations in Newsvendor Networks: Going Beyond Chaining and Pairing by Achal Bassamboo, Ramandeep S. Randhawa, Jan A. Van Mieghem
  • Model of Migration and Use of Platforms: Role of Hierarchy, Current Generation, and Complementarities in Consumer Settings by Xin Xu, Viswanath Venkatesh, Kar Yan Tam, Se-Joon Hong
  • Incentives in New Product Development Projects and the Role of Target Costing by Jurgen Mihm
  • Joint Dynamic Pricing of Multiple Perishable Products Under Consumer Choice by Yalcın Akcay, Harihara Prasad Natarajan, Susan H. Xu
  • Optimal Control and Equilibrium Behavior of Production-Inventory Systems by Owen Q. Wu, Hong Chen
  • Improving Supply Chain Performance and Managing Risk Under Weather-Related Demand Uncertainty by Frank Youhua Chen, Candace Arai Yano
  • Management Economics in a Large Retail Company by W. Stanley Siebert, Nikolay Zubanov

INFORMS journals are strongly cited in numerous industry sources. BusinessWeek has added a fourth INFORMS journal to its list of journals used to determine the world's best business schools making INFORMS the scientific association with the largest number of scholarly journals on the prestigious list. The Financial Times includes four INFORMS journals in its list of academic journals used to evaluate and rank MBA programs. The ERA 2010 journal list available on the Australian Research Council (ARC) website gave 8 of the 12 INFORMS journals A rankings. The research influence and impact of INFORMS journals is measured by Thomson Reuters and is made available in their Journal Citation Reports. Several of our journals are ranked in the top 10 percent of their subject categories.


The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®) is an international scientific society with 10,000 members, including Nobel Prize laureates, dedicated to applying scientific methods to help improve decision-making, management, and operations. Members of INFORMS work in business, government, and academia. They are represented in fields as diverse as airlines, health care, law enforcement, the military, financial engineering, and telecommunications. INFORMS serves the scientific and professional needs of operations research analysts, experts in analytics, consultants, scientists, students, educators, and managers, as well as their institutions, by publishing a variety of journals that describe the latest research in operations research. INFORMS Online (IOL) is at www.informs.org. Further information about operations research can be found at www.scienceofbetter.org.