Interprofessional Information Work: Innovations in the Use of the Chart on Internal Medicine Teams
Journal of Interprofessional Care
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An abundance of evidence suggests that communication in interprofessional healthcare teams is a complex endeavour. Even relatively simple communication processes involving information work - the gathering, storage, retrieval and discussion of patient information - may be fraught with pitfalls, and yet teams manage to conduct their daily information work, often with a high degree of effectiveness. In this article, we explore one commonplace dimension of information work - the use of patient charts to foster collaborative decision-making and care enactment - towards building an elaborated understanding of how teams innovate in the face of daily complexities in their information work processes. Drawing on results from an ethnographic study of team communication in two internal medicine inpatient wards, we describe the nature and use of patient charts, analyze recurrent problems, and explore adaptive strategies for carrying on team information work in the face of daily barriers.