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Clinical handover improvement in context: Exploring tensions between user-centred approaches and standardisation

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 22:44 authored by Ming WongMing Wong, Paul TurnerPaul Turner, Kwang YeeKwang Yee
User-centred approaches in the development and evaluation of health information systems promote the importance of involving users and understanding their social contexts to optimise the quality and safety of these systems for patient care. Simultaneously, the standardisation of clinical practices has also been advocated to improve the quality and safety of patient care. In the context of clinical handover improvement within three different departments in one tertiary teaching hospital, this paper highlights the potential for tensions between these two approaches and explores their implications. Based on a user-centred approach, the paper reports on the unique requirements identified within each of the three departments for an information system to support improved clinical handover. Each department had clinical practices, work cultures and user requirements that needed to be considered and accommodated. This led to the project developing distinct minimum data sets for each of the three departments that posed challenges for efforts to standardise handover practices across the hospital and for building an integrated information system. While on the one hand accommodating unique departmental user requirements was valuable, they revealed the potential for the introduction of quality and safety risks at the organisational level. To resolve these tensions, the project team developed an approach called flexible standardisation that has now been embedded in Australia' s national guidelines on clinical handover improvement.


Publication title

Studies in Health Technology and Informatics








School of Information and Communication Technology


IOS Press

Place of publication

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Rights statement

Copyright 2013 The authors. This article is published online with Open Access by IOS Press and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License.

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