Skip to main content

Context-Based Workplace Awareness

Concepts and Technologies for Supporting Distributed Awareness in a Hospital Environment

Abstract

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5
Figure 6
Figure 7
Figure 8
Figure 9

Notes

  1. This is not to be mistaken for the concept of ‘Activity Awareness’ discussed in Section 3.4. We refer to ‘the activity of a person’ as a part of this person’s context while ‘Activity Awareness’ refers to maintaining an awareness of the progress of a specific activity, regardless of who is performing it.

  2. Note that the word ‘awareness’ is used in two very different ways here. In CSCW, ‘awareness’ is a human/social phenomenon that people posses; a person can have an awareness of people, activities, or artifacts. Within Ubiquitous Computing ‘awareness’ is a technical term; if a computer system is ‘context-aware’, the system is aware of its user’s context and knows, for example, where it is, who is using it, what activities in is being used for, etc. In this paper, we use the term ‘awareness’ in the former meaning. Hence ‘context-based workplace awareness’ is an awareness possessed by human actors about the workplace, but this awareness is based on information about context that is sensed through using context-aware technology.

  3. As discussed in (Bardram and Hansen 2004) the AwarePhone was first built as a stand-alone prototype and subsequently implemented as part of the AWARE architecture. Thus the need to create awareness systems such as the AwarePhone was a basic source of inspiration for the design of the AWARE architecture.

  4. The need to be able to specify priority for a given message was one of the reason for not using SMS messaging on the telephones but building our own messaging sub-system

  5. Note that here we are discussing privacy issues as they relate to the clinicians. However, there are also privacy concerns that relate to patients, since the system uses video in the operating room. However, this is not the place for entering into the issue of patient privacy, which merits a separate discussion; rather, our focus here is on workplace awareness amongst collaborating clinicians. On a more practical level, however, it should be noted that the cameras in the operating rooms were deployed in such a way that they did not show any part of the patient’s body but ‘shot’ over the operating table.

References

  • 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.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Bardram, J. E., & Bossen, C. (2005). Mobility work—the spatial dimension of collaboration at a hospital. Computer Supported Cooperative Work., 14(2), 131–160.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • 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.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 

  • 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.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • 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.

  • Gross, T., & Prinz, W. (2004). Modelling shared contexts in cooperative environments: concept, implementation, and evaluation. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 13(3), 283–303.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • 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.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • 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.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • 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.

  • Jordan, B. (1996) Ethnographic workplace studies and CSCW. In The Design of Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Groupware Systems. Elsevier.

  • 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 

  • 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.

  • 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 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Zerubavel, E. (1979). Patterns of time in hospital life: A sociological perspective. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

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.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jakob E. Bardram.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bardram, J.E., Hansen, T.R. Context-Based Workplace Awareness. Comput Supported Coop Work 19, 105–138 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10606-010-9110-2

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10606-010-9110-2

Key words

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