Social and personal normative influences on healthcare professionals to use information technology: Towards a more robust social ergonomics

Theor Issues Ergon Sci. 2012 Sep 1;13(5):546-569. doi: 10.1080/1463922X.2010.549249. Epub 2011 Mar 28.


Social structures and processes are increasingly acknowledged and studied within the human factors/ergonomics (HFE) discipline. At the same time, social phenomena are rarely the focus of HFE work, leaving a knowledge gap. The present study directly addresses social and personal normative forces that influence technology use and performance. Social and personal normative influence to use electronic health records (EHR) were investigated using semi-structured qualitative interviews with 20 attending physicians at two US hospitals. Analyses used a comprehensive framework based on leading social scientific theories and revealed numerous sources of influence, including hospital administration, colleagues, patients, clinical and professional groups, government, and one's self. Influence was achieved through different means and invoked different psychological processes. Findings motivate a new view of professionals' technology use as a highly social process occurring in a social context, with implications for research, policy, design, and in general the development of a robust social ergonomics.