Contradictions and Interventions in Health IS : A Framework Based on Activity Theory

Faculty/Professorship: Information Systems and Services  
Author(s): Weeger, Andy; Wagner, Heinz-Theo; Gewald, Heiko; Weitzel, Tim  
Title of the Journal: Business & information systems engineering
ISSN: 2363-7005
Publisher Information: Wiesbaden : Springer Gabler
Year of publication: 2021
Volume: 63
Issue: Published: 21 April 2021
Pages: 689-710
Language(s): English
The study analyzes data collected in two case studies in the healthcare industry, which is characterized by a variety of social and technical elements forming an activity system where all elements interact with each other. The findings indicate that many problems emerging during the implementation of a health information system can be traced back to contradictions between elements of the activity systems that are created or amplified by the new IS. The authors find that some contradictions are latent and become salient when introducing a new IS, while other contradictions are (unintentionally) newly created. Also, the study shows that contradictions are more complex than hitherto assumed and often concern more than two elements of a healthcare activity system. In a similar vein, effective interventions geared toward countering these contradictions are found to account for additional complexity while not always achieving their goal. Drawing on activity theory, the authors develop a framework to coherently synthesize the findings. The study can help increase the understanding of the IS’s role within an activity system and help guide IS implementation projects aimed at avoiding unintended consequences.
DOI: 10.1007/s12599-021-00697-w
Peer Reviewed: Ja
International Distribution: Ja
Open Access Journal: Ja
Type: Article
Release Date: 30. July 2021