Healthcare Rural–Urban Access Inequality Challenge : Transformative Roles of Information Technology

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationMIS Quarterly: Management Information Systems
Publication statusAccepted/In press/Filed - 20 Dec 2021


Healthcare rural-urban access inequality indicates a disparity between rural and urban people with severe medical ailments in gaining access to the high-quality healthcare services they need. Although much hope has been pinned on the use of health information technology (HIT) to alleviate this critical and enduring societal challenge, the realized societal impact of HIT is unclear. Anchoring on both social transformation theory and affordance actualization theory, we conducted an in-depth qualitative study with two rounds of data collection in China. In addition to investigating how the societal challenge triggers HIT transformative interventions in response, our analysis contributes to a theory of HIT solution for the healthcare rural-urban access inequality challenge by establishing a link between HIT affordances and HIT interventions. This is done by examining how micro-level HIT effects escalate to macro-level HIT effects through societal-level affordance actualization, which can affect the healthcare access inequality challenge. Along with providing policy implications on introducing HIT solutions to address the intricate societal challenges, this study extends the existing theories by discovering the adaptation of HIT intervention and differentiating the effects of collective and shared affordances.