Panel: Digital Transformation and Future of Health – How Can Information Systems Research Contribute

Panel: Digital Transformation and Future of Health – How Can Information Systems Research Contribute

Panel: Digital Transformation and Future of Health – How Can Information Systems Research Contribute

Note: This panel is open to public and we do not ask for additional registrations.


Panel: Digital Transformation and Future of Health – How Can Information Systems Research Contribute?


According to the World Health Organization, nearly 10% of global GDP is spent on healthcare, chief among which are investments in digital health technologies to revolutionize the delivery of healthcare services. This in turn has given rise to initiatives such as the £21 billion National Programme for Information Technology (NPfIT) in the United Kingdom (UK) and the $27 billion Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records in the United States of America (USA). However, the exponential growth of the global healthcare sector has presented both challenges and opportunities for healthcare providers, patients, as well as public (e.g., governments) and private stakeholders (e.g., insurance companies). Indeed, there is an urgency to transform the healthcare sector due to pressures from ageing demographics, growing epidemic of chronic diseases, increased expectations from more knowledgeable patients, rising healthcare costs, as well as continual advances in biomedical knowledge and technological innovations.

Yet, the healthcare sector is unprepared for these challenges and opportunities for two reasons. First, the healthcare sector is a melting pot of professional differences, media scrutiny, public interest, warring factions, and vulnerable patients, which in turn amplifies the complexity of undertaking digital transformation. Second, healthcare practitioners are typically known for their clinical expertise and not their business acumen. In other words, even when confronted with substantial technological advances, healthcare practitioners lack the necessary technology management expertise to either exploit the opportunities or circumvent the challenges stemming from these technological advances. Compounding the abovementioned problems is the inability of many healthcare practitioners to embrace an open mindset that will allow them to go beyond their parochial clinical lens to deal with the paradoxes and trade-offs encountered in the adoption of technological innovations. In short, the healthcare sector is currently struggling with many of the core issues that Information Systems (IS) scholars research and teach on a daily basis.

In this sense, we believe that IS research can contribute to the future of the healthcare sector practically, theoretically, morally, and methodologically.
Practically, IS research into healthcare is important because contemporary business models, funding approaches, and work practices in the healthcare sector are reaching breaking point worldwide. It is for this reason that healthcare operators, be they public or private, are searching for better healthcare solutions regardless of whether healthcare services are being delivered directly and/or remotely, or through clinical and/or non-clinical staff. Because digital technologies have been proven to be a driving force behind the revitalization of traditional service industries, we are convinced that IS research can effectuate the digital transformation of healthcare sector.

Theoretically, IS research into healthcare is important because the healthcare sector, by nature of its complexity, enables us to validate, extend, refine, and develop IS theories for an economic and socio-political environment that is distinct from others. In so doing, we can acquire an in-depth appreciation of how theories scale across contexts because the healthcare sector is anchored in local specificity, while also operating across state, national, and global boundaries.

Morally, IS research into healthcare is important because few things matter more than people's health. Many IS scholars who conduct research into the healthcare sector do so because they believe that it is an area in which they can have an impact and 'make a difference'. Likewise, we would like to make a case for academic outlets, IS or otherwise, to showcase cutting-edge healthcare research that brings about societal benefits in the near future.

Methodologically, IS research into healthcare is important because IS scholars are proficient in a broad range of methodological approaches—adapted from economics, engineering, and social sciences disciplines—that can be combined to yield novel insights that differ from those generated via methodological approaches often utilized in health settings (e.g., clinical trials). From experience, healthcare practitioners value our methodological pluralism during collaborations.

Together, the invited panellists possess strong capabilities and expertise in areas related to IS research in healthcare. During the panel discussions, the panellists will engage in candid conversation about the role of IS research in transforming the healthcare sector. Specifically, the panellists will be expected to express their opinions in relation to the questions posed below:

  • What role can IS research play vis-à-vis the digital transformation of the healthcare sector?
  • What are the lessons to be gained from the long tradition of healthcare research within the IS discipline and what are promising avenues for future research (e.g., health cyber-security, digital health platforms, and patient portals)?
  • How can IS research aid in the assessment of digital transformation projects in healthcare (addressing both planned benefits and unintended consequences)?
  • How can IS research learn from and inform healthcare practitioners?
  • How can IS researchers engage in impactful and productive collaborations with other health-related disciplines, such as medicine, nursing, and medical informatics?
  • What are the implications of new technological advances such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Blockchain, and Internet of Things (IoT) for the healthcare sector? How should IS research take into account these technological advances?
  • What are the considerations underpinning IS research in healthcare within the Asia-Pacific context (e.g., clinical talent shortages in remote regions, underdeveloped healthcare infrastructure, and digital divide caused by popularity of mobile technologies in urban versus rural areas)?


Organizer: Dongming Xu (University of Queensland, Australia)
                   Saeed Akhlaghpour (University of Queensland, Australia)
                   Chee-Wee Tan (Copenhagen Business School)




Doug Vogel is Professor of Information Systems at the City University of Hong Kong and is an Association for Information Systems (AIS) Fellow as well as AIS President and eHealth Research Institute Director for the Harbin Institute of Technology School of Management. He received his Ph.D. in Information Systems from the University of Minnesota in 1986. Professor Vogel has published widely and directed extensive research on group support systems, knowledge management and technology support for education. He has been recognized as the most cited information systems scholar in the Asia-Pacific region. He is currently engaged in introducing mobile devices and support for integrated collaborative applications in educational and health systems.

Andrew Burton-Jones is a Professor of Business Information Systems at the UQ Business School, University of Queensland. He has a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) and Master’s in Information Systems from the University of Queensland and a Ph.D. from Georgia State University. He is a Senior Editor for MIS Quarterly (MISQ) and has served on the editorial boards for MISQ, Information Systems Research (ISR), Journal of the Association for Information Systems (JAIS), Information & Organization (I&O), and other journals. He has also served as Program Co-Chair for AMCIS and PACIS, and has received several awards for his research, teaching, and service. He conducts research on systems analysis and design, the effective use of information systems, as well as conceptual and methodological issues. Prior to his academic career, he was a senior consultant in a big-4 accounting / consultancy firm.

Chee-Wee Tan is a Professor at the Department of Digitalization in Copenhagen Business School (CBS), an Honorary Professor of Business Analytics and Digitalization at the Nottingham University Business School China in the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC), an International Visiting Professor at the School of Management in the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), Senior Research Fellow at the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society, as well as a Visiting Professorial Fellow at the School of Information Systems and Technology Management in UNSW Sydney. He received his Ph.D. in Management Information Systems from the University of British Columbia. His research interests focus on design and innovation issues related to digital services. His work has been published in leading peer-reviewed journals such as MIS Quarterly (MISQ), Information Systems Research (ISR), Journal of Management Information Systems (JMIS), Journal for the Association of Information Systems (JAIS), Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST), European Journal of Information Systems (EJIS), Decision Support Systems (DSS), and Information and Management (I&M), among others. Apart from his current appointment as a Senior Editor for MISQ, Chee-Wee is currently serving on the editorial boards for Industrial Management & Data Systems (IMDS), IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management (IEEE-TEM), I&M, Internet Research (IntR), JAIS, Journal of Computer Information Systems (JCIS), and Journal of Management Analytics (JMA). In addition, Chee-Wee has served in various editorial capacities for special issues at DSS, I&M, JAIS, and JMIS. Finally, Chee-Wee is the co-director of the joint research center between CBS and the Antai College of Economics and Management (ACEM) in Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU).

Pradeep Ray is the director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan Joint Institute in Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), a member of the International Academic Committee of Shanghai Entrepreneurship Research Centre at SJTU, and a Professor in the Engineering Research Centre for Digital Medicine at SJTU. Pradeep is also the founder for the WHO Collaborating Centre on eHealth at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia. His highly cited work by APuHC on mHealth Bangladesh led to the formation of the UNSW Yunus Social Business Hub for Health, the first of its kind in Australia. Additionally, Pradeep has served as the founder of IEEE Healthcom (since 1999), the founder and chair of IEEE eHealth Technical Committee (2009 – 2013) as well as an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer on eHealth (since 2014). For his accomplishments, Pradeep has been awarded the Shanghai 1000-talent Distinguished Professor status.

Eric Lim is a tenured senior lecturer in the School of Information Systems and Technology Management (SISTM) at UNSW Business School, UNSW Sydney. He holds a PhD in Business Administration from Simon Fraser University (Canada) as well as a Master of Science degree from the National University of Singapore (Singapore) and a Bachelor of Communication degree from Nanyang Technological University (Singapore). Eric's research interests focus on how public and private institutions leverage on information technologies to engage stakeholders. Eric is also interested in investigating phenomenon that reveals how technologically enabled open innovations (e.g., crowd platforms and social media) can be harnessed to benefit society. Eric has worked on research projects in collaboration with a number of public and private organizations in various countries including the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), Siemens, Capgemini, ING Netherlands and Gemeente Groningen. Apart from being a regular presenter at prestigious international conferences, findings from Eric's research has also been published in leading academic journals such as Information Systems Research (ISR), Journal of Management Information Systems (JMIS), Journal for the Association of Information Systems (JAIS), Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST), European Journal of Information Systems (EJIS), and Decision Support Systems (DSS), among others. Eric currently serves as an Associate Editor for Internet Research (IntR).

Tingru Cui is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Computing and Information Technology at the University of Wollongong, Australia. She received PhD from the School of Computing at the National University of Singapore, Singapore in 2014. Her research interests are interdisciplinary in nature, exploring IT-enabled open innovation in e-health and e-learning. Tingru's research has been published in more than 45 top tier journals and conference proceedings, including Information and Management (I&M), IEEE Transactions on Services Computing (IEEE-TSC), and the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS). As the chief investigator, she has successfully obtained multiple competitive research grants, in total of $437,955 and including an Australian Research Council (ARC) funded Discovery Project.

Dongming Xu is a Senior Lecturer in Business Information Systems at the UQ Business School in the University of Queensland (UQ). She holds a PhD in Information Systems from the City University of Hong Kong (CityU). Dongming's research focuses on the confluence of IT innovation and usage to reach a deep understanding of how information systems are being utilized and their impact on society. In recent years, Dongming primarily works in the area of IT entrepreneurship, seeking to trace the evolution of hi-tech start-ups as well as unravel the relationship between IT innovation and business performance. In the meantime, she has also been researching issues related to the utilization of social media in business, such as disaster management and information piracy. Her research interests lie in the intersection among decision making, message transmission, as well as information quality and control. Findings from Dongming's research outputs have been published in more than 70 top tier journals and conference proceedings, such as Decision Support Systems (DSS), Expert Systems with Applications, IEEE Transaction on Knowledge and Data Engineering (IEEE-TKDE), Information and Management (I&M), and the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), among others. As the Chief-Investigator or a Co-Investigator, Dongming has received multiple grants from various funding agencies in the likes of the Hong Kong Research Grant Council (RGC), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), Shenzhen (China) State Research Council, UQ, and CityU. Currently, Dongming is serving as an Associate Editor for I&M, Journal of Electronic Commerce Research (JECR), and the Australasian Journal of Information Systems (AJIS), among others.

Saeed Akhlaghpour is a Senior Lecturer in Information Systems at UQ Business School. Prior to joining the University of Queensland (UQ) in 2015, he held academic positions at Middlesex University London (UK), and McGill University (Canada) – where he also obtained his PhD in Management. Saeed is a Fellow of Higher Education Academy. He teaches in the UQ MBA program and executive education courses. He has delivered Business and IT courses to MBA and undergraduate business students in Brisbane, London, Montreal, and Tehran. Saeed's research has been published in top-tier academic outlets including American Journal of Sociology (AJS), Journal of the Association for Information Systems (JAIS), Journal of Information Technology (JIT), Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA), and the Best Paper Proceedings of the Academy of Management (AOM). His research interests include, applications of IT in healthcare, diffusion and adoption of digital innovations (particularly, management and IT fashions), and organizational applications of social media. Saeed is the chief investigator for a $330,000 Australian Research Council (ARC) funded Linkage Project examining digital hospital implementation in Queensland hospitals and health services.