BACKGROUND: The adoption rate of digital health in the health care sector is low in many countries. A facilitating factor for successful implementation and adoption of digital health is acceptance by current and future health care professionals.
OBJECTIVE: This study was conducted to identify factors associated with willingness to use digital health tools in patient care among health care professionals and students.
METHODS: This was a quantitative cross-sectional survey study conducted among health care professionals and students at a university hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A nonprobability convenience sampling procedure was used to recruit participants. Data were collected using a self-completed e-questionnaire that was distributed by email. Chi-square tests, t tests, and logistic regression were used to analyze the data.
RESULTS: We found that 181 out of 218 health care professionals (83.0%; 75.6% [59/78] physicians; 87.1% [122/140] nurses) and 115 out of 154 students (74.7%; 80.0% [76/95] medical students and 66.1% [39/59] nursing students) were willing to use digital tools in patient care. Willingness to use digital tools was significantly associated with attitude (Adjusted Odds Ratios [AOR] 1.96; 95% CI 1.14-3.36) and self-efficacy (AOR 1.64; 95% CI 1.17-2.30) among health care professionals, and with current year of study (AOR 2.08; 95% CI 1.18-3.68) and self-efficacy (AOR 1.77; 95% CI 1.17-2.69) among students. No significant difference in willingness to use digital tools was found between physicians and nurses (P=.113), and between medical and nursing students (P=.079).
CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study should encourage policy makers and hospital managers to implement relevant eHealth interventions within routine health care systems in Saudi Arabia. For successful implementation, digital health education programs should be implemented simultaneously, so that current and future health care professionals are able to develop required positive attitudes as well as practical skills and competencies.