Some Unintended Consequences of Information Technology in Health Care: The Nature of Patient Care Information System-related Errors

Joan Ash, Marc Berg, Enrico Coiera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1131 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Medical error reduction is an international issue, as is the implementation of patient care information systems (PCISs) as a potential means to achieving it. As researchers conducting separate studies in the United States, The Netherlands, and Australia, using similar qualitative methods to investigate implementing PCISs, the authors have encountered many instances in which PCIS applications seem to foster errors rather than reduce their likelihood. The authors describe the kinds of silent errors they have witnessed and, from their different social science perspectives (information science, sociology, and cognitive science), they interpret the nature of these errors. The errors fall into two main categories: those in the process of entering and retrieving information, and those in the communication and coordination process that the PCIS is supposed to support. The authors believe that with a heightened awareness of these issues, informaticians can educate, design systems, implement, and conduct research in such a way that they might be able to avoid the unintended consequences of these subtle silent errors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-112
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Medical Informatics Association
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2004

Fingerprint

Medical Informatics
Biomedical Technology
Information Systems
Patient Care
Information Science
Cognitive Science
Medical Errors
Sociology
Social Sciences
Netherlands
Communication
Research Personnel
Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

@article{b8f8ceb361424fe698b746688aa8badb,
title = "Some Unintended Consequences of Information Technology in Health Care: The Nature of Patient Care Information System-related Errors",
abstract = "Medical error reduction is an international issue, as is the implementation of patient care information systems (PCISs) as a potential means to achieving it. As researchers conducting separate studies in the United States, The Netherlands, and Australia, using similar qualitative methods to investigate implementing PCISs, the authors have encountered many instances in which PCIS applications seem to foster errors rather than reduce their likelihood. The authors describe the kinds of silent errors they have witnessed and, from their different social science perspectives (information science, sociology, and cognitive science), they interpret the nature of these errors. The errors fall into two main categories: those in the process of entering and retrieving information, and those in the communication and coordination process that the PCIS is supposed to support. The authors believe that with a heightened awareness of these issues, informaticians can educate, design systems, implement, and conduct research in such a way that they might be able to avoid the unintended consequences of these subtle silent errors.",
author = "Joan Ash and Marc Berg and Enrico Coiera",
year = "2004",
month = "3",
doi = "10.1197/jamia.M1471",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "11",
pages = "104--112",
journal = "Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association",
issn = "1067-5027",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Some Unintended Consequences of Information Technology in Health Care

T2 - The Nature of Patient Care Information System-related Errors

AU - Ash, Joan

AU - Berg, Marc

AU - Coiera, Enrico

PY - 2004/3

Y1 - 2004/3

N2 - Medical error reduction is an international issue, as is the implementation of patient care information systems (PCISs) as a potential means to achieving it. As researchers conducting separate studies in the United States, The Netherlands, and Australia, using similar qualitative methods to investigate implementing PCISs, the authors have encountered many instances in which PCIS applications seem to foster errors rather than reduce their likelihood. The authors describe the kinds of silent errors they have witnessed and, from their different social science perspectives (information science, sociology, and cognitive science), they interpret the nature of these errors. The errors fall into two main categories: those in the process of entering and retrieving information, and those in the communication and coordination process that the PCIS is supposed to support. The authors believe that with a heightened awareness of these issues, informaticians can educate, design systems, implement, and conduct research in such a way that they might be able to avoid the unintended consequences of these subtle silent errors.

AB - Medical error reduction is an international issue, as is the implementation of patient care information systems (PCISs) as a potential means to achieving it. As researchers conducting separate studies in the United States, The Netherlands, and Australia, using similar qualitative methods to investigate implementing PCISs, the authors have encountered many instances in which PCIS applications seem to foster errors rather than reduce their likelihood. The authors describe the kinds of silent errors they have witnessed and, from their different social science perspectives (information science, sociology, and cognitive science), they interpret the nature of these errors. The errors fall into two main categories: those in the process of entering and retrieving information, and those in the communication and coordination process that the PCIS is supposed to support. The authors believe that with a heightened awareness of these issues, informaticians can educate, design systems, implement, and conduct research in such a way that they might be able to avoid the unintended consequences of these subtle silent errors.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=1542327773&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=1542327773&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1197/jamia.M1471

DO - 10.1197/jamia.M1471

M3 - Article

C2 - 14633936

AN - SCOPUS:1542327773

VL - 11

SP - 104

EP - 112

JO - Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association

JF - Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association

SN - 1067-5027

IS - 2

ER -