Examining Innovation Translation of RFID Technology in Australian Hospitals through a Lens Informed by Actor-Network Theory

Unnithan, Chandana (2014) Examining Innovation Translation of RFID Technology in Australian Hospitals through a Lens Informed by Actor-Network Theory. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


The use of information technology (IT) in large hospitals is dynamic and multifaceted. Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a rapidly evolving technology that uses radio waves for data collection and transfer, without human involvement. As an acronym, RFID is used broadly for categorising technologies that use radio waves to automatically recognise objects and people. RFID’s ability to track signals and store data has made it a useful technology for many industry sectors, including health. During the 2000s, RFID technology, as an innovation, has been explored for improving the efficiency of workflows, thereby enhancing the quality of care in hospitals worldwide. Existing literature in this domain endorses RFID’s ability to track highvalue and frequently used equipment in emergencies, critical-care wards and operating theatre settings. This ability makes it attractive for resource-contrained big hospitals, where equipment is shared to limit costs. Moreover, its relative non-complexity when integrating with other clinical systems ensures its appeal to hospital administrators and information communication technology (ICT) operations. RFID was not easily adopted in large hospitals without contextual customisation. Difficulties in implementation ranged from the technology’s dynamic nature to staff reluctance, fearing disempowerment. In the Australian context, issues associated with RFID integration regarding legacy clinical systems and costs involved in large-scale implementation have made large hospitals often reluctant to consider RFID. At the beginning of this research investigation (in 2007), there were only a small number of minimally successful emerging cases reported in Australia involving large hospitals1. The aim of this project was to better understand the adoption of RFID technology in Australian hospitals.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/25828
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1117 Public Health and Health Services
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > College of Business
Keywords health information system, health Informatics, blackboxes, ANT, CSU, Australia
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