Improving health IT through understanding the cultural production of safety in clinical settings

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2010;157:175-80.


Health IT is said to have the potential to improve the safety and effectiveness of care. However, it is known that the implementation of health IT can introduce new risks into the environment of care as a result of design failures, implementation failures, and unintended consequences. The design and implementation of health IT systems reflect explicit or implicit assumptions about what constitutes safe practice. These assumptions may clash with those held by patients and clinicians who are the intended users and subjects of the technology. Current perspectives on risk are discussed and an anthropological approach to understanding the construction of safe practices in the clinical setting is explored using research in barcode medication administration.

MeSH terms

  • Health Facilities*
  • Humans
  • Medical Informatics / organization & administration*
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Safety Management*