Nurses’ Working Practices: What Can We Learn for Designing Computerised Patient Record Systems?

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4799)


As demonstrated by several studies, nurses are reluctant to use poorly designed computerised patient records (CPR). So far, little is known about the nurses’ interaction with paper-based patient records. However, these practices should guide the design of a CPR system. Hence, we investigated the nurses’ work with the patient records by means of observations and structured interviews on wards in internal medicine, geriatrics and surgery. Depending on the working context and the nursing tasks and activities to be performed, characteristic access preferences and patterns were identified when nurses interacted with patient records. In particular, we found typical interaction patterns when nurses performed tasks that included all assigned patients. Another important finding concerns worksheets. Nurses use them during their whole shift to manage all relevant information in a concise way. Based on our findings, we suggest a CPR design which reflects the identified practices and should improve the acceptance of CPR systems in the demanding hospital environment.


User-centred system design System analysis Patient record 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Information Systems, Department of Computer Science, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH, Haldeneggsteig 4, 8092 ZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Datonal AG, Medical Information Systems Research, Lettenstrasse 7, 6343 RotkreuzSwitzerland
  3. 3.Departement of Nursing and Social Services, Kantonsspital Luzern, Spitalstrasse, 6016 LucerneSwitzerland
  4. 4.Departement of Nursing and Medical Informatics, Kantonsspital Luzern, Spitalstrasse, 6016 LucerneSwitzerland
  5. 5.Departement of Nursing, Stadtspital Waid, Tièchestrasse 99, 8037 ZurichSwitzerland

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