Distributed Cognition for evaluating healthcare technology

A Rajkomar, Ann Blandford
in BCS-HCI '11 - Health, wealth and happiness: The 25th BCS Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, Conference paper (text), Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK


Distributed Cognition (DCog) has been proposed as being a better approach to analyzing healthcare work than traditional cognitive approaches, due to the collaborative nature of healthcare work. This study sought to explore this by applying two DCog frameworks, DiCoT and the Resources Model, to the analysis of infusion pump use in an Intensive Care Unit. Data was gathered through observations and interviews, and then analysed using DiCoT and the Resources Model to construct models representing the social structures, information flows, physical layouts and artefact use involved in infusion administration in the ICU. The findings of the study confirm that DCog can be a methodology of choice for studying healthcare work: nurses collaborated significantly, artefacts played a major role in coordinating activity, and the physical environment influenced activity - properties which DCog effectively supports reasoning about.