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Discourses of ICT and Organizational Transformation: Towards a Patient-Centred Model of Healthcare

Speaker: Dr Ela Klecun, Information Systems and Innovation Group, Department of Management, London School of Economics and Political Science

Date and time: Thursday 31 May 2012, 1500 - 1630

Location: NAB 5.21

Information and communication technologies (ICT) are increasingly seen in policy and academic literature as key to the modernization of healthcare provision and to making healthcare patient-centred.  However, the ideas of patient-centred care (PCC) and the role of ICT in the transformation of healthcare are not straightforward and their meanings need unpacking.

To this end I analyse policy and organisational discourses, focusing on England’s health policy and strategy papers between 1992 and 2011 and on local discourses surrounding  the implementation of electronic patient records in English hospitals. Rhetoric employed in those discourses play an important role in processes of institutional change and transformation and require further attention in research.

I propose that the discourses of PCC and ICT-led transformation have become interwoven and that this shapes the process of transformation and the very meaning of patient-centred care. New technologies and discourses around them (e.g. in policy papers and in academic or practitioner literature) are opening spaces of new possibilities. However, by highlighting transformational potential of ICT they also amplify certain claims (e.g. of easy transformation to PCC model) and focus attention on particular interpretations of PCC (e.g. the importance of choice, or care through information) and technological solutions. Often technologies and their implementation processes are seen, if not as unproblematic, then as easily perfectable and socio-organizational problems as ‘solvable’ (aided by right research).

However, these interpretations are challenged locally and policy discourses are contested, translated, at times accepted, or rejected. This poses challenges both for future policy and implementations of information systems in healthcare organizations. In my closing remarks I will address some of those challenges.

Ela Klecun is a lecturer in the Information System and Innovation Group of the Department of Management at the LSE. Her main research area is healthcare information systems. She is particularly interested in potential implications of information systems and relevant policies on the way healthcare services are organized, delivered and consumed. Her other interests include digital literacy and exclusion, evaluation of information systems and the application of critical theory and actor-network theory in the field of information systems. Ela has been involved in an EPSRC/ESRC/MRC sponsored project evaluating electronic prescribing systems, and developing evaluation activities, frameworks and methods needed to assess such systems. More recently she has been a member of a team evaluating the National Care Records Service in secondary care, a project funded by the Connecting for Health Evaluation Programme.