A39. Aydin, C. & Rice, R.E. (1992). Bringing social worlds together: Computers as catalysts for new interactions in health care organizations. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 33(2), 168-185.

In this case study, computer systems are explored as catalysts for new interactions between departments in health care organizations. Hypotheses investigated changes in the extent to which members of different departments (1) exchange information and (2) understand each other’s work following implementation of an integrated medical information system. Analyses showed that communication-based forms of involvement in implementation (communicating with systems personnel and trainers, communicating about new ways to use the system, and receiving support from supervisors for doing so) were overwhelmingly more important than either general participation or computer use in predicting increases in interdepartmental interaction. Changes in tasks and roles also led to new, informal, face-to-face contacts to support computer system use, as well as greater administrative control over the organization as a whole. In addition, results of interviews and observations over the two-year study period illustrate the importance of work group identification in predicting changes accompanying computerization.

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