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Lack of clarity when techology are introduced in health care

Published: 25 May 2015

There is a perception in the community that health care workers are resisting the introduction of Information and Communication Technologie, ICT. Maria Andersson Marchesoni, a PhD student at Luleå University of Technology, wanted to get a deeper understanding of how healthcare staff reason, and that is what she studied in her research.

–- It  easy to say that  the staff is reactionary, but there is so much more to take into consideration.

Healthcare is a sector that is constantly undergoing changes. One of the changes is the introduction of ICT to improve the efficiency, quality and fullfil economic demands. Maria Andersson Marchesoni has recently defended her thesis in the subject Nursing at Luleå Universityof Technology. She has followed a process with the introduction of ICT in the elderly care, where she focused on the staff's perspective, expectations and perceptions of the product.

Presence is important in the meeting

In this case, it was the introduction of the smartphone for handling medication, the transition from pen to smartphone, and the arguments for and against the value of the application.

– Health care is primarily a practical job and a smartphone must meet certain requirements and work well to gain acceptance by the staff. It has to make the work environment friendly and fulfill a need, Maria Andersson Marchesoni says.

The introduction of ICT has to support, not impede or prevent care and social care values. The work is about being present physically, but also mentally, to be able to read the person and understand the needs expressed. The staff must be open and present to have a good meeting. It is also an opportunity for staff to obtain confirmation that they are doing a good job, with a smile or a hug for example.

– If there are too many systems it is difficult to be present. It creates stress and frustration, says Maria Andersson Marchesoni.

There is also a fear of losing something. The staff took for granted that the introduction of ICT was a way of reduce staff members or that more systems mean more control and less ability to influence their own work situation.

Crystal clear arguments

In two studies Maria Andersson Marchesoni focused on values ​​in relation to the care. It turned out that it is important for the staff to know the purpose of the change. The nursing staff is experiencing a lack of clarity about why a change is made. They also described conflicting messages from the organization and stakeholders involved in the process.

One view was, at the introduction of ICT, the management must consider why it will be used in the health care. The arguments must be crystal clear, with clear profit based on care values ​​and a clear purpose.

– They want a more critical examination from the organization's leadership and that they would take advantage of the staff's knowledge, commitment and willingness to be involved. They do not want to rush into  different projects, says Maria Andersson Marchesoni.

Greater space for care values ​​

There was a desire that the management think about what values ​​should be preserved and supported. Above all, they wanted technology that allows them to be present in the meeting with the patient. Examples of this could be  technical solutions to avoid cleaning and laundry work and with fast network connection and touch screens have direct links to implement the orders of food, incontinence care and utilities.
– In my studies, it was clear that health professionals believe that care values ​​should feature more prominently in the debate on introducing ICT.


Maria Andersson-Marchesoni

Maria Andersson-Marchesoni, Senior Lecturer

Phone: +46 (0)920 493211
Organisation: Nursing, Division of Nursing and Medical Technology, Department of Health Sciences

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