Call for papers: The 4th international workshop on Infrastructures for Healthcare (IHC): Action
Research, Interventions, and Participatory Design. 13 – 14 June 2013
The University of Tromsø, N‐9038 Tromsø, Norway
Gunnar Ellingsen, University of Tromsø, Norway
Pernille Bjørn, IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Professor Trisha Greenhalgh, Queen Mary, University of London, UK
Professor Kjeld Schmidt, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Tor Arne Viksjø, CEO, DIPS ASA, Norway
Anne‐Lise Härter, Department Director, The Norwegian Directorate of Health
A short paper of 4 pages.
Deadline for submission: 22 February 2013
Notification of acceptance: 1 March 2013
Conference: 13–14 June 2013.
Link to workshop web‐page
Special issue in a journal
Participants from the workshop will be invited to submit articles to a special issue of a peerreviewed
journal. This will be designed as an open call. The workshop at the University of
Tromsø is the fourth of a series where the first three workshops took place in Denmark: first
at the Technical University of Denmark, then at the University of Copenhagen, and most
recently at the IT University of Copenhagen. Each of the workshops has resulted in a special
issue of a journal:
Winthereik, B. and Bansler, J. (2007). Connecting practices: ICT infrastructures to support
integrated care (eds). International Journal of Integrated Care, Vol. 7, No. 16
Bansler, J.P. and Kensing, F. (2010). Information infrastructures for health care: Connecting
practices across institutional and professional boundaries (eds). Computer Supported
Cooperative Work, vol. 19, pp. 519‐520.
Bjørn, P. and Kensing, F. (2012). Infrastructures in healthcare: Global healthcare (eds.).
International Journal of Medical Informatics (in press).
Pressure on the Western healthcare system is mounting due to the prospects of scarce
resources caused by demographic changes as well as greater demand for better treatment
and care. As a result, healthcare authorities and organizations are looking for ways to
streamline and standardize these processes through better pathways for patients and
improved information flow.
ICT and information infrastructures (electronic patient records, telemedicine, laboratory
systems, etc) are regarded as having a strategic role in dealing with these issues, for
supporting clinical personnel in their daily work as well as for providing decision support,
improving efficiency and workflow across institutional, departmental and professional
boundaries. At the same time, many healthcare organizations are committed to local
organizational change projects through LEAN and quality improvement projects, where
clinical personnel participate in identifying organizational bottlenecks and subsequently
suggest and implement solutions. However, many local initiatives do not appear to be
connected to larger ICT strategies at present, indicating that an information infrastructure
perspective offers an unrealized potential. This presents challenges for managers,
practitioners and researchers on how to address these issues: how to intervene in this
heterogeneous landscape to ensure impact on “real” practical settings.
Given the demands and opportunities for larger changes in the healthcare sector, it is also
evident that the inherent characteristics of an information infrastructure pose several
challenges on how to manage and exploit these technologies efficiently. An information
infrastructure in healthcare is typically a compound of many interdependent information
systems, spanning several organizational levels, and embedded in various clinical practices in
different ways. Many of the large‐scale systems in healthcare are also purchased through
costly bid for tender processes involving representatives from managers, ICT personnel and
external consultants, suggesting that the degree of user involvement is limited.
The size, scope and inertia of existing information infrastructures thus raise critical questions
about how to change these technologies, which role users can play in designing new
functionality, and how studies of large‐scale infrastructures can induce operational changes.
In addition, there are methodological questions related to which part of the infrastructure
should be studied, in which phase, and for what period.
We wish to bring international researchers, healthcare professionals, IT professionals,
administrators, and IT enterprises together to discuss these issues. We particularly invite
contributions that are methodologically based on ethnographic/case/field studies. Topics of
particular interest include, but are not limited to:
Change and management of healthcare information infrastructures
Implementation and adoption of infrastructures
The role of clinical users in tailoring infrastructures
Participatory and interventionist approaches related to information infrastructures
Action research in large‐scale infrastructural settings.
The role of researchers in studying infrastructures
Reflections on practical impact – what it is, methods, and how to achieve it
Balancing of different viewpoints and interests in large‐scale infrastructural projects.
Scaling and sustainability of infrastructures
Workplace studies of healthcare practices.
Pernille Bjørn, Ph.D.
IT University of Copenhagen
Rued Langgaards Vej 7, 2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark
phone: +45 72185272; email: [log in to unmask]; web: pernillebjorn.dk
Project manager for NexGSD - nexgsd.org
Global Interaction research initiative GIRI global-interaction.org
Technologies in Practices research group
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