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A Stakeholder Analysis of Online Accountability Practices in Rural Hospitals

Author: ASYA COOLEY
Published in JHHSA, Vol. 42 No. 3

The purpose of this study was to assess online accountability practices in rural hospitals and to determine how these practices differ from those of urban hospitals. The online accountability practices instrument was used to quantitatively analyze website contents of 238 hospitals, sampled from the American Hospital Association database. The findings suggest that rural hospitals with higher revenues and affiliated with health systems were more likely to have robust online accountability practices, while privately-owned rural hospitals were less likely to disclose accountability information in an online environment. More importantly, rural hospitals were just as robust as urban hospitals as it relates to online accountability practices, positioning themselves favorably within the community environment. When looking deeper into dimensions of online accountability, rural hospitals were less likely to disclose their audited financial statements, include an option to instantly connect with an organization, provide search capability and include a link to online donations. In addition, rural hospitals were more likely to include an employee directory with contact information.
Keywords: online accountability; rural hospitals; disclosure; website; information and communication technologies.

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