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Broadening the Socio-Technical Horizons of Health Informatics


Whetton, SG and Georgiou, A, Broadening the Socio-Technical Horizons of Health Informatics, 4, (1) pp. 179. ISSN 1874-4311 (2010) [Edited Journal]


This special socio-technical supplement of the Open Medical Informatics Journal showcases a number of innovative and unique research approaches that highlight the current scope of socio-technical perspectives in the health informatics discipline. In just three short decades the discipline of health informatics has evolved from a primary focus on the "application of computers to all fields of medicine medical care, medical education and medical research" [1] to an increasing focus on socio-technical issues where "people and organizational issues are critical" (page 79) [2]. The incorporation of socio-technical perspectives arose as researchers sought to analyse the reasons behind the limited successes of many early health information management systems. The application of socio-technical analyses demonstrated that effective systems implementation required an appreciation of both technological and organisational factors. While technical elements continue to be core to health informatics knowledge, socio-technical research seeks to further our understanding of the organisational and cultural factors inherent in the introduction of information management systems into the health care environment. Early socio-technical research included reflections both on its role in knowledge development and its application to the practice of health informatics [3-5]. Research and discussion often took the form of a critique of the established technology focussed approaches. However, as Coiera notes, "for the contribution of socio-technical systems thinking to be more than simply a means of critiquing current practices and systems, it needs to also contribute to the process of developing new and more effective systems" (page S98) [6].

Item Details

Item Type:Edited Journal
Keywords:complex systems, evaluation studies, medical informatics, sociotechnical, theory
Research Division:Information and Computing Sciences
Research Group:Information systems
Research Field:Information systems philosophy, research methods and theory
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Schools and learning environments
Objective Field:Management, resources and leadership
UTAS Author:Whetton, SG (Dr Sue Whetton)
ID Code:66937
Year Published:2010
Deposited By:UTAS Centre for Rural Health
Deposited On:2011-02-18
Last Modified:2011-03-07

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