C45. Rice, R. E. (2004). Social aspects of implementing a hospital information system: Cure or symptom? In P. Whitten & D. Cook (Eds.). Understanding health communications technologies: A case study approach (pp. 19-29). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


Medical information systems are crucial components of health service.  But sometimes, rather than curing information and health care problems, such implementation both represents and creates symptoms of organizational problems. This confusion between “cure” and “symptom” is partially due to the fact that social and organizational factors tend to be overlooked in information system design and implementation, but they often play the primary role in influencing the success or failure of these hospital information systems.  This case reports quantitative and qualitative insights into the two-year process of implementing an integrated medical records information system in one health care organization. In the end, it's not clear whether the system was primarily a cure for the organization's information ailments, or primarily a symptom of deeper organizational problems.

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