Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 105–138 | Cite as

Context-Based Workplace Awareness

Concepts and Technologies for Supporting Distributed Awareness in a Hospital Environment
  • Jakob E. BardramEmail author
  • Thomas R. Hansen


Maintaining an awareness of the working context of fellow co-workers is crucial to successful cooperation in a workplace. For mobile, non co-located workers, however, such workplace awareness is hard to maintain. This paper investigates how context-aware computing can be used to facilitate workplace awareness. In particular, we present the concept of Context-Based Workplace Awareness, which is derived from years of in-depth studies of hospital work and the design of computer supported cooperative work technologies to support the distributed collaboration and coordination of clinical work within large hospitals. This empirical background has revealed that an awareness especially of the social, spatial, temporal, and activity context plays a crucial role in the coordination of work in hospitals. The paper then presents and discusses technologies designed to support context-based workplace awareness, namely the AWARE architecture, and the AwarePhone and AwareMedia applications. Based on almost 2 year’ deployment of the technologies in a large hospital, the paper discuss how the four dimension of context-based workplace awareness play out in the coordination of clinical work.

Key words

social awareness context-aware computing mobile computing hospitals pervasive healthcare AwarePhone AwareMedia 



We are indebted to Horsens Hospital for their great support and valuable input into this project and for letting us test out our ideas in a real-world environment. We would also like to thank Christian Jonigkeit, Martin Mogensen, and Mads Søgaard who were part of the team that designed, implemented, and deployed AwareMedia. This research was funded by the Danish Competence Centre ISIS Katrinebjerg, grant #108.


  1. Bardram, J. E. (2000). Temporal coordination—on time and coordination of collaborative activities at a surgical department. Computer Supported Cooperative Work. An International Journal, 9(2), 157–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bardram, J. E. (2005). The Java Context Awareness Framework (JCAF)—A service infrastructure and programming framework for context-aware applications. In H. Gellersen, R. Want, & A. Schmidt (Eds.), Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Pervasive Computing (Pervasive 2005), Vol. 3468 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Munich, Germany, pp. 98–115, Springer Verlag.Google Scholar
  3. Bardram, J. E., & T. R. Hansen (2004). The AWARE architecture: Supporting context-mediated social awareness in mobile cooperation. In Proceedings of the 2004 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work. pp. 192–201, ACM Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bardram, J. E., & Bossen, C. (2005). Mobility work—the spatial dimension of collaboration at a hospital. Computer Supported Cooperative Work., 14(2), 131–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bly, S. A., Harrison, S. R., & Irwin, S. (1993). Media spaces: bringing people together in a video, audio, and computing environment. Communications of the ACM, 36(1), 28–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bossen, C. (2002) The parameters of common information spaces: The heterogeneity of cooperative work at a hospital ward. In Proceedings of the 2002 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work. pp. 176–185, ACM Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bradner, E., Kellogg, W. A., & Erickson, T. (1999). The adoption and use of ‘Babble’: A field study of chat in the workplace. In Proceedings of the Sixth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work. Copenhagen, Denmark, pp. 139–158, Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  8. Brown, P. J. (1996). The stick-e document: A framework for creating context-aware applications. In Proceedings of EP’96, Palo Alto. pp. 259–272.Google Scholar
  9. Cheverst, K., Mitchell, K., Davies, N., & Smith, G. (2000). Exploiting context to support social awareness and social navigation. SIGGROUP Bull., 21(3), 43–48.Google Scholar
  10. Dey, A., Abowd, G. D., & Salber, D. (2001). A conceptual framework and a toolkit for supporting the rapid prototyping of context-aware applications. Human-Computer Interaction, 16, 97–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dourish, P., & Bly, S. (1992) Portholes: Supporting awareness in a distributed work group. In CHI ’92: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems. New York, NY, USA, pp. 541–547, ACM Press.Google Scholar
  12. Fagrell, H., Forsberg, K., & Sanneblad, J. (2000) FieldWise: A mobile knowledge management architecture. In W. Kellogg & S. Whittaker (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2000 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work. pp. 211–220, ACM Press.Google Scholar
  13. Fitzpatrick, G., Mansfield, T., Kaplan, S. Arnold, D. Phelps, T., & Segall, B. (1999) Augmenting the Workaday World with Elvin. In Proceedings of the Sixth European conference on Computer supported cooperative work (ECSCW99). Copenhagen, Denmark, pp. 431–450, Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  14. Fogarty, J., Lai, J., & Christensen, J. (2004). Presence versus availability: the design and evaluation of a context-aware communication client. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 61(3), 299–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Greenberg, S., & Rounding, M. (2001). The notification collage: posting information to public and personal displays. In CHI ’01: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems. New York, NY, USA, pp. 514–521, ACM Press.Google Scholar
  16. Gross, T., & Prinz, W. (2004). Modelling shared contexts in cooperative environments: concept, implementation, and evaluation. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 13(3), 283–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gross, T., Braun, S., & Krause, S. (2006). MatchBase: A development suite for efficient context-aware communication. In PDP ’06: Proceedings of the 14th Euromicro International Conference on Parallel, Distributed, and Network-Based Processing. Washington, DC, USA, pp. 308–315, IEEE Computer Society.Google Scholar
  18. Hansen, T. R. (2006). Strings of experiments: Looking at the design process as a set of socio-technical experiments. In PDC ’06: Proceedings of the ninth conference on Participatory design. New York, NY, USA, pp. 1–10, ACM.Google Scholar
  19. Hansen, T. R., & Bardram, J. E. (2007). Applying mobile and pervasive computer technology to enhance coordination of work in an surgical ward. In Proceedings of the 2007 MedInfo Congress, (pp. 373–376). IOS Press.Google Scholar
  20. Hansen, T. R., Bardram, J. E., & Soegaard, M. (2006). Moving out of the lab: deploying pervasive technologies in a hospital. IEEE Pervasive Computing, 5(3), 24–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Heath, C. C., & Luff, P. (1992). Collaboration and control: Crisis management and multimedia technology in London Underground control rooms. Computer Supported Cooperative Work. An international Journal, 1(1–2), 69–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Heath, C., vom Lehn, D., Hindmarsh, J., Svensson Sanchez, M., & Luff, P. (2002). Configuring awareness. Computer supported cooperative work. An International Journal, 11(3–4), 317–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Huang, E. M., Russell, D. M. & Sue, A. E. (2004) IM here: public instant messaging on large, shared displays for workgroup interactions. In CHI ’04: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems. New York, NY, USA, pp. 279–286, ACM Press.Google Scholar
  24. Jordan, B. (1996) Ethnographic workplace studies and CSCW. In The Design of Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Groupware Systems. Elsevier.Google Scholar
  25. Kensing, F., & Halskov Madsen, K. (1991). Generating visions: Future workshops and metaphorical design. In J. Greenbaum & M. Kyng (Eds.), Design at work: Cooperative design of computer systems (pp. 155–168). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  26. MacIntyre, B., Mynatt, E. D., Vodia, S., Hansen, K. M., Tullio, J. & Corso, G. M. (2001) Support for multitasking and background awareness using interactive peripheral displays. In Proceeding of ACM User Interface Software and Technology 2001 (UIST01). New York, NY, USA, pp. 11–14, ACM Press.Google Scholar
  27. Munoz, M., Rodriguez, M., Favela, J., Gonzalez, V., & Martinez-Garcia, A. (2003). Context-aware mobile communication in hospitals. IEEE Computer, 36(8), 60–67.Google Scholar
  28. Nardi, B. A., Whittaker, S., & Bradner, E. (2000) Interaction and outeraction: Instant messaging in action. In CSCW ’00: Proceedings of the 2000 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work. New York, NY, USA, pp. 79–88, ACM Press.Google Scholar
  29. Prinz, W. (1999) NESSIE: An awareness environment for cooperative settings. In Proceedings of the Sixth European conference on Computer supported cooperative work. Norwell, MA, USA, pp. 391–410, Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  30. Reddy, M., Dourish, P. & Pratt, W. (2001). Coordinating heterogeneous work: Information and representation in medical care. In (Prinz et al., 2001), pp. 239–258, Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  31. Schmidt, K. (2002). The problem with ‘Awareness’: introductory remarks on ‘Awareness in CSCW’. Computer Supported Cooperative Work. An International Journal, 11(3–4), 285–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Tang, J. C., Yankelovich, N., Begole, J., Kleek, M. V., Li, F. & Bhalodia, J. (2001). ConNexus to awarenex: Extending awareness to mobile users. In CHI ’01: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems. New York, NY, USA, pp. 221–228, ACM Press.Google Scholar
  33. Tollmar, K., Sandor, O. & Schömer, A. (1996). Supporting social awareness @ work design and experience. In CSCW ’96: Proceedings of the 1996 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work. New York, NY, USA, pp. 298–307, ACM.Google Scholar
  34. Xiao, Y., Lasome, C., Moss, J., Mackenzie, C. & Faraj, S. (2001) Cognitive properties of a whiteboard: A case study in a trauma centre. In (Prinz et al., 2001), pp. 259–278, Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  35. Yee, S. & Park, K. S. (2005) StudioBRIDGE: Using group, location, and event information to bridge online and offline encounters for co-located learning groups. In CHI ’05: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems. New York, NY, USA, pp. 551–560, ACM Press.Google Scholar
  36. Zerubavel, E. (1979). Patterns of time in hospital life: A sociological perspective. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IT University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Cetrea A/SAarhusDenmark

Personalised recommendations