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Local sociotechnical system development in the NHS National Programme for Information Technology


The National Programme for Information Technology is implementing standard electronic healthcare systems across the National Health Service Trusts in England. This paper reports the responses of the Trusts and their healthcare teams to the applications in the programme as they are being implemented. It concludes that, on the basis of the data available, it is likely that the emergent behaviour of healthcare staff will serve to minimise the impact of the systems. The paper looks at the opportunities within the programme to undertake local sociotechnical system design to help staff exploit the opportunities of the new electronic systems. It concludes that there are opportunities and offers one case study example in a Mental Health Trust. However, it concludes that there are many aspects of the technical systems themselves and also of the approach to implementation, that limit the opportunities for local sociotechnical systems design work.

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Correspondence to Ken Eason.

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Eason, K. Local sociotechnical system development in the NHS National Programme for Information Technology. J Inf Technol 22, 257–264 (2007).

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  • NpfIT
  • National Health Service
  • sociotechnical systems design
  • electronic healthcare systems
  • implementation
  • minimum critical specification