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Unanticipated consequences of health-care information technology
Date:9/18/2007

en disappointing, say the researchers.

Managers and clinicians need to prevent more undesirable side effects and recognize unforeseeable consequences early on, says lead author Harrison. Then they can take steps to remedy them before damage mounts.

The authors demonstrate how new HIT changes workplace processes and how practitioners alter these technologies during use. The authors call their new paradigm Interactive Sociotechnical Analysis.

We are strong proponents of HIT, say Harrison and Koppel. But introducing HIT is not like adding a fax machine. HIT involves a whole set of activities and interactions with existing IT, people, the built environment, and with other systems. These interactions generate unpredictable developments. We map these developments to inspire greater awareness of IT implementation problems and increased action to improve new IT systems.

Decision makers are taking unnecessary risks if they wait for HIT projects to run for a year or two before doing a post-hoc evaluation, observes Harrison. Real time evaluations can reveal unintended consequences as they emerge, allowing remedial action to be taken.


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Contact: Karen Kreeger
karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5658
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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