Replace an Old Functioning Information System with a New One-What Does it Take?

Document type: Bookchapters
Peer reviewed: Yes
Author(s): Hans Kyhlbäck, Berthel Sutter
Title: Replace an Old Functioning Information System with a New One-What Does it Take?
Translated title: Vad krävs det för att ersätta ett gammalt fungerande informationssystem med ett nytt?
Book: Handbook of Research on Advances in Health Informatics and Electronic Healthcare Applications: Global Adoption and Impact of Information Communication Technologies
Year: 2009
Volume: 1
Pagination: 600
Editor: Khalil Khoumbati, Yogesh Kumar Dwivedi, Aradhana Srivastava, Banita Lal
ISBN: 978-1-60566-030-1
Publisher: Medical Information Science Reference
City: Hershey - New York
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: School of Computing, School of Management (Sektionen för datavetenskap och kommunikation, Sektionen för management)
School of Computing S-371 79 Karlskrona, School of Management S- 371 79 Karlskrona
+46 455 38 50 00;
Authors e-mail:,
Language: English
Abstract: This chapter addresses a problem that is often experienced when ICT systems are being implemented in a work practice. Posed as a question, it might be formulated like this: What does it take to replace an old functioning information system with a new one? Findings are grounded on a long-term case study at a community elder care. Chapter used the Development Work Research (DWR) approach that is an interventionist methodology comprising ethnography as well as design experiment. During the case study, a new digital case book for the community wound care was developed. However, as it turned out, the nurses´ established practice favored the old-fashioned mobile information system. First conclusion of this chapter is that an old-fashioned information system within health care work will not successfully be replaced by a new one, unless the new is better “as a whole”, that is, better supports work practices of a range of occupational and professional workers. Second conclusion is that when designing information system for the public sector, system designers will almost always face dilemmas based on a contradiction between central, high level interest and local level work-practice perspectives. The third conclusion is that in order to succeed in the design of new information and communication system, the distinctive features of the work activities in question have to be delineated by ethnographic studies, and taken into consideration in the design process.
Summary in Swedish: Kapitlet handlar om ett återkommande problem när IT-system implementeras i en arbetspraktik. Det kan formuleras som en fråga: Vad krävs det för att ersätta ett gammalt fungerande informationssystem med ett nytt? Resultaten grundas på en långtidsstudie inom kommunal omsorg. I kapitlet används forskningsansatsen Utvecklande Arbetsforskning (Developmental Work Research) som är en intervenerande metod som innebär både etnografi och designexperiment. Den första slutsatsen är att ett äldre informationssystem kan inte ersättas på ett framgångsrikt sätt om inte det nya är bättre "i sin helhet". Vidare så summeras att det finns alltid ett dilemma vid design av IT-system för den offentliga sektorn i motsättningen mellan högre placerade intressen och den lokala arbetspraktikens perspektiv. För att lyckas med design av nya ICT-system måste distinkta särdrag av den aktuella arbetspraktiken bli framtagna i etnografiska studier och övervägda i designprocessen.
Subject: Human Work Science\Computer Supported Cooperative Work
Computer Science\General
Nursing & Caring Sciences\General
Keywords: Artefacts, Clusters of artefacts, Case book, Community elder care, Cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT), Developmental work research (DWR), Ethnographic investigation, Participatory design (PD), Shop floor work.
Note: Medical Information Science Reference; 1 edition (July 31, 2009) 628 pages ISBN: 978-1-60566-030-1