Healthcare work is highly interactive and communicative in nature and optimal outcomes are achieved when patients become active participants in the healthcare process.
As our theme of research, we ask the question:
How to design socio-technical IT that explicitly support the interdependent roles of patients and health professionals?
The project will make contributions in the form of analyses, conceptual frameworks, and prototypes of IT-support for communication across institutional and professional boundaries of heterogeneous groups of people.
Telemedicine and Shared Care
Shared care programs focus on improving coordination, collaboration and knowledge sharing among healthcare professionals as well as involving patients as active participants in these processes. Establishing good communication across organizational and professional boundaries is the most crucial aspect to successful shared care programs. Shared care applies when the responsibility for the healthcare of the patient is shared between individuals or teams who are part of separate organizations, or where substantial organizational boundaries exist.
Research has shown that shared care programs can improve quality and efficiency of care significantly, but also that the implementation of such programs is a long term and difficult process. Effective shared care requires that healthcare professionals share information about (and with) patients at appropriate points in the care and/or treatment process.
The combination of telemedicine and shared care programs addresses the problem of supporting communication across institutional and professional boundaries, in highly heterogeneous networks of healthcare professionals and patients. This is not a simple or straightforward task. Research on organizational communication has consistently shown that working across functional boundaries and sharing knowledge is difficult, because knowledge is localized, embedded and invested in practice. Thus, the development of successful IT solutions for shared care requires overcoming the “knowledge boundaries” that exist between different professions and groups in the healthcare system.