Health information technology and sociotechnical systems: a progress report on recent developments within the UK National Health Service (NHS)

Appl Ergon. 2014 Mar;45(2):150-61. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2013.07.004. Epub 2013 Jul 26.


This paper summarises some of the research that Ken Eason and colleagues at Loughborough University have carried out in the last few years on the introduction of Health Information Technologies (HIT) within the UK National Health Service (NHS). In particular, the paper focuses on three examples which illustrate aspects of the introduction of HIT within the NHS and the role played by the UK National Programme for Information Technology (NPfIT). The studies focus on stages of planning and preparation, implementation and use, adaptation and evolution of HIT (e.g., electronic patient records, virtual wards) within primary, secondary and community care settings. Our findings point to a number of common themes which characterise the use of these systems. These include tensions between national and local strategies for implementing HIT and poor fit between healthcare work systems and the design of HIT. The findings are discussed in the light of other large-scale, national attempts to introduce similar technologies, as well as drawing out a set of wider lessons learnt from the NPfIT programme based on Ken Eason's earlier work and other research on the implementation of large-scale HIT.

Keywords: Health information technology; Healthcare human factors and ergonomics; Sociotechnical systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Access to Information
  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care Information Systems*
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Ergonomics
  • Frail Elderly
  • Home Care Services
  • Hospital Information Systems*
  • Humans
  • Medical Informatics*
  • Registries
  • Social Work
  • State Medicine*
  • Stroke / therapy
  • United Kingdom