Technostress has many causes—and cures

Healthcare managers experience and handle technostress in multiple ways, according to research published Sept. 25 in BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making.

The study involved 10 male and 10 female healthcare managers from four hospitals, all of whom were selected based on their gender, professional background, hierarchical management position, scope of management and tenure in their current job.

In semi-structured interviews, a team of researchers led by Magdalena Stadin, of Jönköping University in Sweden, asked the subjects to describe the “critical incidents” that signal technostress for them and what actions they take to alleviate it.

The researchers determined that technostress plays out for healthcare managers in three distinct if overlapping realms:

1. Negative aspects of digital communication. Examples: work overload, invasion of private life, bad feelings related to digital communication.

2. Poor user experience. Examples: illogical, malfunctioning or time-consuming systems.

3. Needs to improve organizational resources. Examples: needs associated with digital literacy, user influence and distribution of work and systems.

Interestingly, none of the subjects said fear of losing their job due to the advent of digital technology, including AI, is part of their own technostress.

Stadin et al. also found that healthcare managers’ strategies for addressing technostress are related to three areas: taking action related to “culture, norms, and social support” (e.g., good email culture and co-worker support), leveraging “individual resources” (e.g., coming up with personal strategies and increasing individual digital technology competence), and harnessing “organizational resources” (e.g., IT-related systems and support).

“Healthcare managers, in comparison with other healthcare professionals, have an increased likelihood of experiencing technostress at work,” the researchers write. All of the features cited in the study, “along with consideration of healthcare managers’ job demands and resources in general, should be incorporated into actions monitored by healthcare organizations to improve or maintain a sustainable digitized environment” for these individuals.

The study is available in full for free.