Leveraging Coordinative Conventions to Promote Collaboration Awareness

The case of Clinical Records

Abstract

The paper discusses the conventions used by medical practitioners to improve their collaboration mediated by Clinical Records. The case study focuses on the coordinative conventions identified in two wards of an Italian hospital and highlights their role and importance in the definition of the requirements of any system supportive of collaborative work practices. These requirements are expressed in terms of the provision of artifact-mediated information that promotes collaboration awareness. The study identified several kinds of Awareness Promoting Information (API): the paper discusses how they can be conveyed both in the web of documental artifacts constituting a Clinical Record and in its computer-based counterpart, the Electronic Patient Record (EPR). The paper ends with the implications for the design of EPRs and for their integration with Hospital Information Systems in light of the findings.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In a private communication with one of the authors, K. Schmidt pointed to the misleading nature of this expression, since awareness relates more to a state of mind, rather than to the provision of data in a specific context and for a specific purpose.

  2. 2.

    In what follows, we adopt the naming convention that each API is characterized by an attributive noun indicating what information actors need to become aware of.

  3. 3.

    Nothing reported in the CR can be deleted but only amended by addition.

  4. 4.

    Only seldom who reports a clinical intervention is not the same person who has performed it (e.g., chemotherapeutic drug preparation, rachiocentesis).

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Acknowledgments

The work presented in this paper has been partially supported by the Italian fund F.A.R. 2007. The authors would like to thank the management and the Internal Medicine and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit personnel of the “Alessandro Manzoni” Hospital in Lecco (Italy) for their kind collaboration. In particular, we would like to acknowledge the invaluable help and courtesy of Dr Roberto Bellù, Mrs Daniela Colombo and Mrs Rossana Pezzotta.

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Correspondence to Federico Cabitza.

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Cabitza, F., Simone, C. & Sarini, M. Leveraging Coordinative Conventions to Promote Collaboration Awareness. Comput Supported Coop Work 18, 301–330 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10606-009-9093-z

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Key words

  • hospital work
  • clinical record
  • coordinative conventions
  • collaboration awareness
  • awareness promoting information
  • electronic patient record