Sociotechnical implications for Information Technology related interventions in community medication management – a case study

Jean-Pierre Calabretto, Paula MC Swatman


Information Systems in the healthcare domain are seen as integral to improving quality and efficiency. However, the socio-technical nature of the healthcare domain makes it unusually difficult to successfully integrate people and information technology in such a way as to improve outcomes. During an information technology intervention to improve the process of medication management, we identified a number of sociotechnical factors relevant to our intervention, including: missing information, information granularity, the importance of information transferred by conversation, the impact of time constraints on information gathering and use, the influence of professional practice software, the nature of information technology use; and the notion of what systems should support ‘experts’. Our findings support the need for information technology to support natural human processes – not necessarily requiring sophisticated technology, but rather the ‘right’ technology. In an area such as healthcare, characterised by complex decision-making, uncertainty and involving highly trained professionals, we believe that designing decision support tools should take these factors into account, to ensure fit with health care-related work processes.


Socio-technical; Decision Support; Medication Management; Healthcare Systems

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::::::::::::::  eJHI - electronic Journal of Health Informatics - ISSN 1446-4381  ::::::::::::::

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