The Role of Professional Identity into Explaining Saudi Arabian Healthcare Professional Resistance to Electronic Health Records’ Stratigic Change in Public Hospitals

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Electronic Health Record (EHR) is an application that captures patients’ information and promises to improve healthcare services. Hence, many countries, including the developing country, such as Saudi Arabia, invested heavily to implement the system and improve healthcare service delivery. Yet, the system's adoption is slow, and failure is high, which could be related to healthcare professionals’ resistance to change to the EHR applications. Further, despite the importance of the topic of EHR resistance, little research has been conducted in Saudi Arabia regarding healthcare professionals’ resistance to change to EHR. Motivated thus, this research suggested that resistance to EHR in Saudi Arabia results from cultural and professional identity factors, which guide healthcare professionals’ behaviour. Therefore, this research investigated how the professional identity of Saudi healthcare professionals can explain their resistance to using EHR applications. The study used identity theory as our main theoretical lens along with Hofstede cultural dimension theory and in-depth qualitative interviews to understand the EHR resistance to change phenomenon. Our study has revealed similarities between Saudi and Western healthcare professionals’ factors that could contribute to EHR resistance. However, interestingly, cultural, and religious norms were also found to be one of the leading causes of Saudi healthcare professionals’ resistance to the EHR change. Our theoretical contributions helped us understand the role of identity in EHR use in a place where professionals with a strong professional and cultural identity are the system's main users. In addition, our practical contributions aimed to help the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia to understand what healthcare professional needs before adapting an EHR system, or improve the current once. Further, it could help hospital managers address, understand, and solve the challenges facing healthcare professionals as they use the EHR system.
Saudi Culture, Strategic Management, Managing Change, EHR Resistance to Change