What is it about?

Common sense and overwhelming empirical evidence assure that employees like to share their knowledge, support each other, and readily accept new technologies, when they are satisfied with their job and feel only a low workload. The data from our project Land|Rettung (Rural|Rescue) implementing a Tele Emergency Physician (TEP) system, however, shows quite the opposite: Technology acceptance was higher after the implementation of tele-medicine for nurses but not for other professions, and it was higher when the workload was high. Regarding knowledge sharing, employees with low work satisfaction are more likely to share their digital knowledge as compared to employees with high work satisfaction.

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Why is it important?

Our research illustrates that employees’ workload has an impact on the intention of using digital applications. The higher the workload, the more people are willing to use TEPs. Regarding active knowledge sharing, we see that employees with low work satisfaction are more likely to share their digital knowledge compared to employees with high work satisfaction. And: After implementing the new technology, work satisfaction increased for the more experienced employees, but not for the less experienced ones. This might be attributed to an effect known as the ‘Dunning-Kruger effect’: Highly knowledgeable employees initially feel uncertain about the change, which translates into temporarily lower work satisfaction. Therefore, they feel the urge to fill even small knowledge gaps, which in return leads to higher work satisfaction. Those responsible need to acknowledge that digital change affects their employees’ workflow and work satisfaction. During such times, employees need time and support to gather information and knowledge in order to cope with digitally changed tasks.


Our work is set in the framework of Germany’s largest transition and eHealth project ensuring a sustainable emergency care in rural areas implementing a system for “Telemedical emergency Physicians” (TEP). The project named Land|Rettung (Rural|Rescue) was funded by Germany largest innovation funds, promoted by Germany’s former Chancellor Angela Merkel, changed the legislation of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and has now been recommended as a standard to all German ministers of health.

Joachim Paul Hasebrook
Steinbeis-Hochschule Berlin

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This page is a summary of: Digital transition in rural emergency medicine: Impact of job satisfaction and workload on communication and technology acceptance, PLoS ONE, January 2023, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0280956.
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