A model of e-Health acceptance and usage in Uganda: The perspective of Online Social Networks
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Governments around the world are transitioning from the traditional health practices to e-Health for better service delivery to their citizens. The resulting benefits of e-Health include improved access to health information, increased participation of the patients in the treatment process,24 hour service availability, better delivery of health services, time saving and speed, reaching the hard-to-reach places like wars and rural areas where traditional healthcare is difficult and greater convenience. These benefits however remain largely unrealized in economically transitioning countries due to low adoption of e-Health services. Different models have been used in an attempt to explain Acceptance and Use of e-Health systems, but with poor results. The new Technological dawn reveals an increasing desire to use Social Networks for e-government services. However, although some government services are ubiquitous with Social Networks, citizens’ willingness to use their Online Social Networks for e-Health services is still very low leading to failure of such initiatives. One of the major contributors is the shortage of a suitable model to utilize this mighty power of Online Social Networks for e-Health Acceptance. This study, therefore, aimed at determining the factors important to use Online Social Networks for e-Health in Uganda in order to support e-Health Acceptance and Usage in the country. To achieve this aim, a descriptive field study using a questionnaire was carried out to identify factors important to use Online Social Networks for e-Health in Uganda. The factors from the results of the field study were used to extend the E-government Acceptance Model in order to derive an appropriate one for the Ugandan context. The derived model was evaluated in a questionnaire based field study and the results showed that four Social Network factors namely Social support, Social awareness, Social attractiveness and Social influence are important to use Online Social Networks for e-Health. The Social Networked Model is generic and can be used by other transitioning countries.