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  • About
  • The Global ETD Search service is a free service for researchers to find electronic theses and dissertations. This service is provided by the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations.
    Our metadata is collected from universities around the world. If you manage a university/consortium/country archive and want to be added, details can be found on the NDLTD website.

The diffusion of social informatics in the civil service work environment in KwaZulu-Natal

Mbatha, Blessing Thuthuka January 2011 (has links)
Thesis submitted in fulfillment of the requirements of the award of the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Library and Information Science) at the University of Zululand, South Africa, 2011. / ICT is a compound term that is used to refer to the convergence of a wide array of new technologies presently being developed and used in the creation, processing and transmission of information. Broadly speaking, these technologies encompass all aspects of data / information recording, handling and transmission, and include computers, telecommunications, satellites, fibre optics, video-based multimedia applications, automated speech outputs, and electronic broadcast technologies. The public services referred to in this study are government departments, and they are responsible for servicing society, devising policies, and ensuring that they are implemented. The civil servants referred to in this study are government employees. The focus of this study was to examine the use, types, interaction, and availability of ICTs in four government departments in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, in the context of work productivity and creativity. In order to achieve the stated aim, the following research had to be answered: What types of ICTs are available in government departments? What problems are experienced by the civil servants in their utilization of ICTs? How can the education and training needs of the civil servants be addressed? To what extent are ICTs used by the civil servants in their work activities? What strategies and solutions can address the problems faced by the civil servants? This study adopted mixed methods where aspects of both quantitative and qualitative approaches were employed. The quantitative method was used to solicit information from the civil servants, while the qualitative approach was used in the review of different social informatics studies. The literature review was undertaken across a broad spectrum of sources including conference papers, journals, government policy documents and several Internet sources. The study used multistage probability sampling to select the elements for the survey and to achieve the desired representation from the population. Probability samples helped the researcher acquire a demonstrable degree of reliability and validity. The sampling techniques used were simple random, systematic, and stratified sampling. Simple random sampling was first used to identify government departments in the province that have considerable reach and are service intensive, namely the Departments of Arts and Culture, Home Affairs, Education, and Health. Secondly, systematic sampling was used to select suitable district municipalities. This sampling technique was used in order to increase the chances of obtaining a representative sample and to prevent bias in the selection process. The initial starting municipality in this technique was selected randomly and every second district municipality from a list was selected thereafter. The departments were selected from the following district municipalities: uMgungundlovu, uMzinyathi, Zululand, uThungulu and Sisonke. The first stage of stratified sampling consisted of the division of the service area into rural and urban based areas. In the second stage, stratification of personnel in the selected departments into top, medium and lower level management was done. This was to ensure that all the levels of management were represented in the study. In the last stage, a simple random sample was used to select the sample elements from the different levels of management. Government departments in South Africa have a well defined organogram such that the number of managers is almost equal across all departments. A sample size of 20 % of the population elements was used and this resulted in 65 personnel being selected from each ministry and a target sample of 260 managers. A questionnaire was used to collect quantitative data. The data collected was analyzed using thematic categorization and tabulation, and the findings were presented descriptively. The findings show that a variety of ICTs have been adopted in the sector. All the civil servants surveyed indicated that they used ICTs to communicate with fellow colleagues, for spreadsheet purposes, word processing, printing, and to disseminate departmental information. The respondents’ level of interaction with some of the ICTs, such as e-mail, personal computers, Internet, printers and telephones, was very high, while the use of ICTs such as video conferencing, television and radio was very poor. The most common obstacles to the effective use of ICTs in government departments were found to be lack of skills / competence, the lack of a comprehensive ICT policy, and the lack of proper planning for the adoption and diffusion of ICTs in the sector. The civil servants particularly voiced the need for training on database searching and information retrieval. The contextual conditions that need to be adapted in order to improve the use of ICTs in government departments include the need for adequate and well structured planning; an introductory a comprehensive ICT policy that would provide sufficient frameworks for ICT development and/or use in the public sector; provision of proper and sufficient ICT infrastructure; funding for the purchase of all necessary facilities and resources for ICTs; and the training of staff on how to use ICTs. The issue of planning revealed here is very important as embarking on any new innovation requires adequate planning. Other recommendations include training sessions for civil servants so that they can use the acquired ICT knowledge and skills in their daily work and activities. Where necessary, the government should continually review the ICT training it offers to civil servants, especially considering the rate of developments in the ICT industry. A good policy would also provide sufficient frameworks for ICT development and/or use in government departments, for instance in areas of strategizing implementation, staff development and communication. Policies to foster the uptake of ICTs are insufficient. Moreover, policies specific to ICT diffusion and use will not, on their own, lead to stronger performance; they should be part of a comprehensive set of actions to create the right conditions for growth and innovation. The diffusion and adoption of ICTs in government departments require expertise at various levels. The South African government is still working on putting together a comprehensive national ICT policy that would guide ICT use in the country. / The University of South Africa

A Web 2.0 Enabled Content Management System for Rural Youth Photographers: Social Computing Supporting Community Empowerment

Sandusky, Robert J., Crowe, Jane January 2007 (has links)
A distributed coalition consisting of a Head Start program, its youth activities program development director, rural youth, an art gallery and its curators, a graphic designer, and a university department are collaborating to design, build, and populate a user controlled content management system to bring the youthsâ work to a global audience, enable computer mediated interaction, provide a venue for exploring artistic expression, and introduce information and communications technologies (ICTs) to the youth and other project participants. Using a project-based approach combined with implicitly constructed scenarios and the iterative and informal processes associated with free / libre / open source software development, the geographically and organizationally distributed project team created the first release of the Growing Tennessee Web site to coincide with a photo exhibition held at a not-for-profit art gallery. The project will build upon its previous accomplishments and introduce additional media and their supporting technologies to rural youth.

A Web 2.0 Enabled Content Management System for Rural Youth Photographers: Social Computing Supporting Community Empowerment

Sandusky, Robert J., Crowe, Jane January 2007 (has links)
A distributed coalition consisting of a Head Start program, its youth activities program development director, rural youth, an art gallery and its curators, a graphic designer, and a university department are collaborating to design, build, and populate a user controlled content management system to bring the youthsâ work to a global audience, enable computer mediated interaction, provide a venue for exploring artistic expression, and introduce information and communications technologies (ICTs) to the youth and other project participants. Using a project-based approach combined with implicitly constructed scenarios and the iterative and informal processes associated with free / libre / open source software development, the geographically and organizationally distributed project team created the first release of the Growing Tennessee Web site to coincide with a photo exhibition held at a not-for-profit art gallery. The project will build upon its previous accomplishments and introduce additional media and their supporting technologies to rural youth.

Automated Knowledge Discovery from Functional Magnetic Resonance Images using Spatial Coherence

Mitra, Pinaki S 27 September 2006 (has links)
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) has the potential to unlock many of the mysteries of the brain. Although this imaging modality is popular for brain-mapping activities, clinical applications of this technique are relatively rare. For clinical applications, classification models are more useful than the current practice of reporting loci of neural activation associated with particular disorders. Also, since the methods used to account for anatomical variations between subjects are generally imprecise, the conventional voxel-by-voxel analysis limits the types of discoveries that are possible. This work presents a classification-based framework for knowledge discovery from fMRI data. Instead of voxel-centric knowledge discovery, this framework is segment-centric, where functional segments are clumps of voxels that represent a functional unit in the brain. With simulated activation images, it is shown that this segment-based approach can be more successful for knowledge discovery than conventional voxel-based approaches. The spatial coherence principle refers to the homogeneity of behavior of spatially contiguous voxels. Auto-threshold Contrast Enhancing Iterative Clustering (ACEIC) a new algorithm based on the spatial coherence principle is presented here for functional segmentation. With benchmark data, it is shown that the ACEIC method can achieve higher segmentation accuracy than Probabilistic Independent Component Analysis a popular method used for fMRI data analysis. The spatial coherence principle can also be exploited for voxel-centric image-classification problems. Spatially Coherent Voxels (SCV) is a new feature selection method that uses the spatial coherence principle to eliminate features that are unlikely to be useful for classification. For a Substance Use Disorder dataset, it is demonstrated that feature selection with SCV can achieve higher classification accuracies than conventional feature selection methods.

Process-oriented Analysis and Display of Clinical Laboratory Data

Post, Andrew 29 January 2007 (has links)
Background: Disease and patient care processes often create characteristic mathematical and temporal patterns in time-stamped clinical events and observations, but existing medical record systems have a limited ability to recognize or visualize these patterns. System Design: This dissertation introduces the process-oriented approach to clinical data analysis and visualization. This approach aims to support specifying, detecting, and visualizing mathematical and temporal patterns in time-stamped patient data for a broad range of clinical tasks. It has two components: a pattern specification and detection strategy called PROTEMPA (Process-oriented Temporal Analysis); and a pattern visualization strategy called TPOD (Temporal Process-oriented Display). Evaluation: A study in the clinical research domain evaluated PROTEMPAs ability to identify and categorize patients based on diagnosis, disease severity, and disease progression by scanning for patterns in clinical laboratory results. A cognitive study in the patient care domain evaluated PROTEMPA and TPODs ability to help physicians review cases and make decisions using case presentation software that displays laboratory results in either a TPOD-based display or a standard laboratory display. Results: PROTEMPA successfully identified laboratory data patterns in both domains. TPOD successfully visualized these patterns in the patient care domain. In the patient care study, subjects obtained more clinical concepts from the TPOD-based display, but TPOD had no effect on decision-making speed or quality. Subjects were split on which laboratory display they preferred, but expressed a desire to gain more familiarity with the TPOD-based display. Subjects reviewed data in the standard laboratory display for a variety of purposes, and interacted with the display in a complex fashion. Conclusions: The process-oriented approach successfully recognized and visualized data patterns for two distinct clinical tasks. In clinical research, this approach may provide significant advantages over existing methods of data retrieval. In patient care, comparative evaluation of novel data displays in context provides insights into physicians preferences, the process of clinical decision-making by physicians, and display usability. TPODs influence on concept acquisition is promising, but further research is needed regarding physicians use of laboratory data for results review in order to determine how a process-oriented display might be deployed most beneficially.

A Protein Sequence-Properties Evaluation Framework for Crystallization Screen Design

Dougall, David Stephen 04 January 2008 (has links)
The goal of the research was to develop a Protein-Specific Properties Evaluation (PSPE) framework that would aid in the statistical evaluation of variables for predicting ranges of and prior probability distributions for protein crystallization conditions. Development of such a framework is motivated by the rapid growth and evolution of the Protein Data Bank. Features of the framework that has been developed include (1) it is an instantiation of the scientific method for the framing and testing of hypotheses in an informatics setting, (2) the use of hidden variables, and (3) a negative result is still useful. The hidden variables examined in this study are related to the estimated net charge (Q) of the proteins under consideration. The Q is a function of the amino acid composition, the solution pH, and the assumed pKa values for the titratable amino acid residues. The proteins size clearly has a significant impact on the magnitude of the Q. Therefore, two additional variables were introduced to mitigate this effect, the specific charge (Qbar) and the average surface charge density (sigma). The principal observation is that proteins appear to crystallize at low values of Qbar and sigma. One problem with this observation is that low is a relative term and the frame of reference requires careful examination. The results are sufficiently weak that no prospective predictions appear possible although information of this type could be included with other weak predictors in a Bayesian predictor scheme. Additional work would be required to establish this; however that work is beyond the scope of the dissertation. Although many statistically significant correlations among Q-related quantities were noted, no evidence could be developed to suggest they were anything other than those expected from the additional information introduced with the hidden variables. Thus, the principal conclusions of this PSPE analysis are that (1) Qbar/sigma and other Q-related variables are of limited value as prospective predictors of ranges of values of crystallization conditions. Although this is a negative result, it is still useful in that it allows attention to be directed into more productive avenues.


Bartos, Christa Elizabeth 25 September 2008 (has links)
The implementation of computerized provider order entry (CPOE) across the health care system has been slow in realization. In addition to the inherent financial burden, a significant cause for this delay is the high number of system failures resulting from clinicians resistance. Changes in workflow and communication, time demands, system complexity, and changes to power structures have all been identified as consequences of CPOE systems that can cause resistance among clinicians. Of these, I believe that perceived changes in a persons power in the workplace can be more difficult to overcome than changes in the work routine. Perception of the power or control that clinicians have in the workplace and their attitudes toward CPOE are precursors to behavior, and if these perceptions and attitudes are negative, can result in resistive behavior. Based on psycho-social theories of power, resistance, and organizational information technology (IT) implementation in business, I applied these concepts to healthcare IT implementation. Qualitative studies have looked at power and resistance, but no previous study has measured the degree or direction of power change, or confirmed that a relationship exists between power perceptions and CPOE attitudes. One reason for this is that no instruments existed to obtain this data. I developed the Semantic Differential Power Perception (SDPP) survey as an electronic survey to measure power perception and CPOE attitudes, and established reliability and validity of the instrument in a measurement study. The SDPP was used to collect data from 276 healthcare workers in two different hospitals before and after implementation of CPOE. I identified a significant correlation between power perceptions and attitudes toward CPOE. Examining the direction of change by healthcare position, we found that the power perception values decreased for all positions and that attitudes toward CPOE varied based on use of the system. Understanding the relationship between power perceptions and CPOE attitudes is the first step in determining causative relationships. This understanding will enable system developers to modify implementation processes and training methods to enhance waning power and support positive power changes, therefore minimizing power related resistance.

A Bayesian Network Model for Spatio-Temporal Event Surveillance

Jiang, Xia 07 January 2009 (has links)
Event surveillance involves analyzing a region in order to detect patterns that are indicative of some event of interest. An example is the monitoring of information about emergency department visits to detect a disease outbreak. Spatial event surveillance involves analyzing spatial patterns of evidence that are indicative of the event of interest. A special case of spatial event surveillance is spatial cluster detection, which searches for subregions in which the count of an event of interest is higher than expected. Temporal event surveillance involves monitoring for emerging temporal patterns. Spatio-temporal event surveillance involves joint spatial and temporal monitoring. When the events observed are of direct interest, then analyzing counts of those events is generally the preferred approach. However, in event surveillance we often only observe events that are indirectly related to the events of interest. For example, during an influenza outbreak, we may only have information about the chief complaints of patients who visited emergency departments. In this situation, a better surveillance approach may be to model the relationships among the events of interest and those observed. I developed a high-level Bayesian network architecture that represents a class of spatial event surveillance models, which I call BayesNet-S. I also developed an architecture that represents a class of temporal event surveillance models called BayesNet-T. These Bayesian network architectures are combined into a single architecture that represents a class of spatio-temporal models called BayesNet-ST. Using these architectures, it is often possible to construct a temporal, spatial, or spatio-temporal model from an existing Bayesian network event-surveillance model that is non-spatial and non-temporal. My general hypothesis is that when an existing model is extended to incorporate space and time, event surveillance will be improved. PANDA-CDCA (PC) (Cooper et al., 2007) is a non-temporal, non-spatial disease outbreak detection system. I extended PC both spatially and temporally. My specific hypothesis is that each of the spatial and temporal extensions of PC will perform outbreak detection better than does PC, and that the combined use of the spatial and temporal extensions will perform better than either extension alone. The experimental results obtained in this research support this hypothesis.

A Bayesian Rule Generation Framework for 'Omic' Biomedical Data Analysis

Lustgarten, Jonathan Llyle 14 May 2009 (has links)
High-dimensional biomedical 'omic' datasets are accumulating rapidly from studies aimed at early detection and better management of human disease. These datasets pose tremendous challenges for analysis due to their large number of variables that represent measurements of biochemical molecules, such as proteins and mRNA, from bodily fluids or tissues extracted from a rather small cohort of samples. Machine learning methods have been applied to modeling these datasets including rule learning methods, which have been successful in generating models that are easily interpretable by the scientists. Rule learning methods have typically relied on a frequentist measure of certainty within IF-THEN (propositional) rules. In this dissertation, a Bayesian Rule Generation Framework (BRGF) is developed and tested that can produce rules with probabilities, thereby enabling a mathematically rigorous representation of uncertainty in rule models. The BRGF includes a novel Bayesian Discretization method combined with one or more search strategies for building constrained Bayesian Networks from data and converting them into probabilistic rules. Both global and local structures are built using different Bayesian Network generation algorithms and the rule models generated from the network are tested on public and private 'omic' datasets. We show that using a specific type of structure (Bayesian decision graphs) in tandem with a specific type of search method (parallel greedy) allows us to achieve statistically significant higher overall performance over current state of the art rule learning methods. Not only does using the BRGF boost performance on average on 'omic' biomedical data to a statistically significant point, but also provides the ability to incorporate prior information in a mathematically rigorous fashion for modeling purposes.

Engineering an EMR System in the Developing World Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Douglas, Gerald Paul 14 May 2009 (has links)
While Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems continue to improve the efficacy of healthcare delivery in the West, they have yet to be widely deployed in the developing world, where more than 90% of the global disease burden exists. The benefits afforded by an EMR notwithstanding, there is some skepticism regarding the feasibility of operationalizing an EMR system in a low-resource setting. This dissertation challenges these preconceptions and advances the understanding of the problems faced when implementing EMR systems to support healthcare delivery in a developing-world setting. Our methodology relies primarily on eight years of in-field experimentation and study. To facilitate a better understanding of the needs and challenges, we created a pilot system in a large government central hospital in Malawi, Africa. Learning from the pilot we developed and operationalized a point-of-care EMR system for managing the care and treatment of patients receiving antiretroviral therapy, which we put forth as a demonstration of feasibility in a developing-world setting. The pilot identified many unique challenges of healthcare delivery in the developing world, and reinforced the need to engineer solutions from scratch rather than blindly transplant systems developed in and for the West. Three novel technologies were developed over the course of our study, the most significant of which is the touchscreen clinical workstation appliance. Each of the novel technologies and their contribution towards successful implementation are described in the context of both an engineering and a risk management framework. A small comparative study to address data quality concerns associated with a point-of-care approach concluded that there was no significant difference in the accuracy of data collected through the use of a prototype point-of-care system compared to that of data entered retrospectively from paper records. We conclude by noting that while feasibility has been demonstrated the greatest challenge to sustainability is the lack of financial resources to monitor and support EMR systems once in place.

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