SOCIAL MEDIA AS CURE FOR INFORMATION OVERLOAD: AN ACTION RESEARCH IN NIGERIA HEALTHCARE
Information and communication technology (ICT) had a huge impact on the healthcare services and the Internet plays an important role in forming patients’ attitudes towards health-related services. Although the Internet mentioned as one of the major contributors in todays’ Information Overload (IO), common notion is that healthcare sector has been remained immune of IO effects. Throughout an action research, this study showed that IO has significant impact on treatment sessions of patients suffering from chronicle mental disorders in two ways. Firstly, patients’ acquired information from the Internet bombards physician in the treatment sessions, which eventually slows down the treatment process. Secondly, protocols and administrative procedures are subject to change, which leads to frustrating relearning cycles due to the huge amount of information attaching to them. Also, physicians have a tendency to keep themselves updated about new achievements in their field, which adds to the IO problem. In an attempt to enhance the situation an application model purposed in the second half of this research, which uses social web as a platform to provide a service based on Information Logistics (IL) principles to deal with the problem of IO.
INTRODUCTION AND PROBLEM DEFINITION
Information Overload is a well-known phenomenon in the Information Systems research and it is been claimed that the Internet boosts up the problem of information overload. Although the Internet has mentioned to have significant impact on patient’s attitudes towards healthcare system in general, there is not empirical evidence that indicates that healthcare system affected by the information overload. This is particularly odd since patients use the Internet for information seeking and ask their respective physicians for interpretation of their findings. Also there have been several attempts by healthcare professionals to overcome the problem of information overload.
This study triggered by a psychologist to examine effects of information overload on modern healthcare systems. Subsequently results of the study on the field should be used to form a solution based on ICTs to enhance the problem of information overload.
Soft System Methodology (SSM), which is an action research method used in the course of this research.
SSM designed to study complex social problematical situation and provide a model of intervention tailored for the environment based on different worldviews that exists in the system. Three world views identified as; Authorities, physicians and patients. Models of purposeful activity created based on each worldview and the final application model emerged from accommodation among those purposeful activity models.
Different forms of interviews took place over an 18-month period with several people involved in the healthcare sector in different levels.
Findings of this research indicate that despite the common notion that information overload has not affected healthcare sector, Information overload is very much exists in the treatment process of chronicle mental diseases and the Internet provides a vital role in that. However results showed that the problem of information overload is not fully understood by stakeholders in the healthcare sector and any given situation which has/requires huge amount of data perceived as information overload by them.
Having the problem clear, the second part of the research dealt with development of an application model to enhance the situation through providing a communication mechanism based on social web and using collaborative knowledge creation property of social web to deliver a service based on information logistics principles on the top of that model to deal with the problem of information overload.