The determinants of adoption of information and communication technology by small and medium enterprises within the health sector in Nairobi, Kenya
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) playa very important role in the economy in terms of wealth creation and provision of employment opportunities. However, competition from more established firms poses a great challenge to their existence. With the adoption of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), it was envisaged that SMEs would compete more effectively and efficiently in both domestic and international markets, but recent research portrays a gloomy picture about the adoption of ICT by SMEs. Most SMEs have failed to adopt ICTciting significant impediments. Since literature on ICT adoption by SMEs in Kenya is limited and inconsistent, this study examined the effects of various contextual factors such as individual factors, organizational factors, technological factors, and the external environment on the adoption of ICT by health-related SMEs in Kenya. A cross-sectional descriptive survey design was used. The target population was 17 healthrelated SMEs. In addition, 172 end - users were sampled using purposive and simple random sampling techniques. Both primary and secondary data were used. Primary data was collected using a semi-structured questionnaire and an interview guide. Secondary data was collected through review of records and documents. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the properties of the mass data. The Logit model was used to predict the potential effects on the determinants of ICT adoption by SMEs. Open-ended questions were analysed by capturing the common themes, categorizing them, and drawing conclusions from the findings. The research findings showed that age, CEO's ICT knowledge, quality ofICT systems, information intensity, ICT specialization, organizational readiness, relative advantage, government policies on IC'I' applications, and pressure from suppliers and patients were the main determinants of ICT adoption. The study concludes that, for the health related- SMEs to cope with the dynamics o( the global competition and move Kenya towards middle level income country as envisaged in the Vision 2030, the above nine determinants must be addressed. Th~ study therefore, recommends that government should develop a differentiated ICT policy arid 'incorporatecompulsory training in computer applications in the national school curriculum. In addition, SMEs should invest in quality systems that ate functioning and also technically usable. They should set a mechanism for monitoring the changes in technological innovations as the electronic marketplace evolves. Finally, SMEs should adopt ICT within a participatory plan. Key words: Kenya, SMEs, information, communication, technology, adoption, information intensity, relative advantage, and teIe-medicine.