Häkkinen H et al. 2007 "A participatory assessment of IS integration needs in maternity clinics using activity theory."

Häkkinen H, Korpela M. A participatory assessment of IS integration needs in maternity clinics using activity theory. Int J Med Inf 2007;76(11-12):843-849.
"The design and development of information systems should focus on a wider context than merely one user group or organization. This is particularly the case with systems integration. A tentative description of the activity network, information needs, and user requirements should be acquired before any major changes are planned. Relatively rapid yet participatory methods are needed at this preliminary stage. In this article, we claim that activity theory offers a suitable framework for this. Subsequently, we present a qualitative study in which this approach was used, with focus on the practices of the information management within a maternity care activity network. The first aim was to elicit the most important integration needs in the existing information systems of Finnish maternity clinics. Secondly, we wanted to introduce a participatory approach to be utilized by the service-providing organizations themselves, rather than software companies or quality consultants. Data were collected in multi-professional group interviews. The results include information needs and communication problems as well as outlines for solutions in the systems integration of maternity clinics. Various tools of information management do not meet the concrete needs of health care work. Integration is needed on many levels, and it has to be adapted to the needs of numerous stakeholders. The applied activity-theoretical framework proved useful in describing such a multi-faceted system of information and its users. More research is needed on its wider applicability, particularly in situations where researchers are not active participants."

"To find out what IS integration and software needs exist at Finnish municipal maternity clinics [and] to test and evaluate a participatory method for IS integration needs assessment."

Type Clinic
Specialty care
Type Specific
Maternity care
Urban, suburban, and rural
Other Information
The study clinics were located in Finland.
Type of Health IT
Electronic medical records (EMR)
Workflow-Related Findings
"The [system] was generally considered a good information and communication channel within the health center, except for the medication data which was found unsatisfactory. All medication data were not entered in any of the [parts], mainly due to inadequate usability."
"At present, the medical care summaries are sent from the hospital on paper and by traditional mail. The participants found this procedure much too slow."
Study Design
Study Participants
The study participants included a multi-professional group of physicians, social workers and nurses.