Changes in healthcare professional work afforded by technology: the introduction of a national electronic patient record in an English hospital

Petrakaki, Dimitra, Klecun, Ela and Cornford, Tony (2016) Changes in healthcare professional work afforded by technology: the introduction of a national electronic patient record in an English hospital. Organization, 23 (2). pp. 206-226. ISSN 1350-5084

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Abstract

This article considers changes in healthcare professional work afforded by technology. It uses the sociology of professionals’ literature together with a theory of affordances to examine how and when technology allows change in healthcare professional work. The study draws from research into the introduction of a national electronic patient record in an English hospital. We argue that electronic patient record affords changes through its materiality as it interacts with healthcare professional practice. Its affordances entail some level of standardisation of healthcare professional conduct and practice, curtailment of professional autonomy, enlargement of nurses’ roles and redistribution of clinical work within and across professional boundaries. The article makes a contribution to the growing literature advocating a cultural approach to the study of technological affordances in organisations and to studies that explore healthcare professional practice in conjunction with the materiality of technology. Two main lines of argument are developed here. First, that technological affordances do not solely lie with the materiality of technology nor with individual perceptions, but are cultivated and nurtured within a broader cultural–institutional context, in our case a professional context of use. Second, that technological affordance of change is realised when healthcare professionals’ (individual and collective) perceptions of technology (and of its materiality) fit with their sense of (professional) self. In this respect, the article shows the extent to which the materiality of technology plays out with professional identity and frames the level and extent to which technology can and cannot afford restructuring of work and redistribution of power across professional groups.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Business and Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Depositing User: Dimitra Petrakaki
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2016 08:08
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2017 05:43
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/59742

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