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Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)

, Volume 15, Issue 5–6, pp 501–535 | Cite as

Multidisciplinary Medical Team Meetings: An Analysis of Collaborative Working with Special Attention to Timing and Teleconferencing

  • Bridget KaneEmail author
  • Saturnino Luz
Article

Abstract

In this paper we describe the process of a multi-disciplinary medical team meeting (MDTM), its functions and operation in colocated and teleconference discussions. Our goal is to identify the elements and mechanics of operation that enhance or threaten the dependability of the MDTM as a “system” and propose technologies and measures to make this system more reliable. In particular, we assess the effect of adding teleconferencing to the MDTM, and identify strengths and vulnerabilities introduced into the system by the addition of teleconferencing technology. We show that, with respect to the system’s external task environment, rhythms of execution of pre-meeting and post-meeting activities are critical for MDTM success and that the extension of the MDTM to wider geographic locations with teleconferencing might disrupt such rhythms thereby posing potential threats to dependability. On the other hand, an analysis of vocalisation patterns demonstrates that despite difficulties related to coordination and awareness in video-mediated communication (evidenced by increased time spent in case discussion, longer turns, decreased turn frequency and near lack of informal exchanges) the overall case discussion structure is unaffected by the addition of teleconferencing technology into proceedings.

Keywords

ethnography healthcare interaction analysis multidisciplinary medical team meetings teleconference 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Our thanks to Dr. Finbarr O’Connell and all the members of the multidisciplinary team at the respiratory MDTM in St James’s Hospital, Dublin, for their cooperation in this on-going study. We also thank Dr. D. S. O’Briain, and all of the staff in pathology. We also thank the staff at the Academic Unit of Clinical and Molecular Oncology, Trinity College Dublin. This research is supported by funding from the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceTrinity College DublinDublin 2Ireland

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