Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 29–53 | Cite as

Temporality in Medical Work: Time also Matters



CSCW has long been concerned with the distribution of activities in time and in space, but the problems of distributed work have often taken analytic and technical precedence. In this paper, we are interested in the issue of temporality in collaborative work. In particular, we want to examine how the temporal organization of action is experienced by those who are involved in it. To investigate this phenomenon, we conducted a field study of medical workers in a surgical intensive care unit. Through this study, we highlight the temporal organization of the work. In particular, we introduce and describe three temporal features – temporal trajectories, temporal rhythms, and temporal horizons – that emerge from and influence the work of healthcare providers as they attempt to seek, provide, and manage information during the course of their daily work.


collaborative work medical work information seeking temporality 


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We would like to thank the physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other staff members in the SICU. We would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their comments. This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under awards 0133749, 0205724 and 0326105, and by the Center for Research on Information Technology and Organizations.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Information Sciences and TechnologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Donald Bren School of Information and Computer SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA
  3. 3.The Info-rmation School and Biomedical and Health InformaticsUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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