I just don't know why it's gone: Maintaining Informal Information Use in Inpatient Care

TitleI just don't know why it's gone: Maintaining Informal Information Use in Inpatient Care
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsZhou, X, Ackerman, MS, Zheng, K
Conference NameACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI'09)
Date Published04/2009
KeywordsCPOE, electronic patient records, informal information, medical informatics., medical records, organizational memory, psychosocial information, shift change

We conducted a field-based study examining informal nursing information. We examined the use of this information before and after the adoption of a CPOE (Computerized Provider Order Entry) system in an inpatient unit of a large teaching hospital. Before CPOE adoption,nurses used paper working documents to detail psychosocial information about patients; after the CPOE adoption, they did not use paper or digital notes as was planned. The paper describes this process and analyses how several interlocked reasons contributed to the loss of this information in written form. We found that a change in physical location, sufficient convenience, visibility of the information, and permanency of information account for some, but not all, of the outcome. As well, we found that computerization of the nursing data led to a shift in the politics of the information itself – the nurses no longer had a cohesive agreement about the kinds of data to enter into the system. The findings address the requirements of healthcare computerization to support both formal and informal work practices, respecting the nature of nursing work and the politics of information inherent in complex medical work.