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Understanding Infusion Administration in the ICU through Distributed Cognition

Rajkomar, A; Blandford, AE; (2012) Understanding Infusion Administration in the ICU through Distributed Cognition. Journal of Biomedical Informatics , 45 (3) pp. 580-590. 10.1016/j.jbi.2012.02.003. Green open access


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To understand how healthcare technologies are used in practice and evaluate them, researchers have argued for adopting the theoretical framework of Distributed Cognition (DC). This paper describes the methods and results of a study in which a DC methodology, Distributed Cognition for Teamwork (DiCoT), was applied to study the use of infusion pumps by nurses in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Data was gathered through ethnographic observations and interviews. Data analysis consisted of constructing the representational models of DiCoT, focusing on information flows, physical layouts, social structures and artefacts. The findings show that there is significant distribution of cognition in the ICU: socially, among nurses; physically, through the material environment; and through technological artefacts. The DiCoT methodology facilitated the identification of potential improvements that could increase the safety and efficiency of nurses’ interactions with infusion technology.

Type: Article
Title: Understanding Infusion Administration in the ICU through Distributed Cognition
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jbi.2012.02.003
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbi.2012.02.003
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1344066
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