Challenges to physicians’ use of a wireless alert pager

Type Journal Article
Author Madhu C Reddy
Author Wanda Pratt
Author David W McDonald
Author M Michael Shabot
Pages 544-548
Publication AMIA … Annual Symposium Proceedings / AMIA Symposium. AMIA Symposium
ISSN 1942-597X
Date 2003
Extra PMID: 14728232
Journal Abbr AMIA Annu Symp Proc
Accessed 2010-09-08 21:04:02
Library Catalog NCBI PubMed
Abstract Pagers, personal data assistants (PDAs) and other devices that have wireless connectivity are becoming a popular method for delivering patient related information to medical decision makers. Although medical informatics research has emphasized the design, and implementation of pagers as event notification mechanisms, researchers have not paid as much attention to how this technology impacts medical work. We present a case study of physicians in a Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) using wireless alert pagers. The pagers provide a variety of alphanumeric clinical alert messages and are widely used by SICU physicians. However, the use of the pagers has created unanticipated challenges to the physicians' traditional work practices. These challenges include: (1) flattening of hierarchical workflows, (2) coping with information overload and missing context, and (3) lack of feedback. These challenges are tied to both the specific technical design of the system and the traditional structure of medical work.
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