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Data-work and friction: Investigating the practices of repurposing healthcare data

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The focus on digital data for improved management and quality of healthcare is paramount. In particular, the vast volumes of accumulated data in clinical systems have created high hopes for repurposing data to serve secondary purposes beyond the practices of direct clinical care, such as research, improvement and efficiency. This article contributes with an understanding of the pivotal, but often unnoticed “data-work” involved in such efforts. The article is based on a regional project in Danish healthcare, in which nine hospital departments were given the task of developing new indicators for quality to substitute the previous accountability regime based on Diagnosis-Related Groups. Using the concept of “friction,” we analyze the challenges of turning clinical ideas into data-supported indicators and of collecting data from existing repositories. Especially, we turn attention to the interaction between clinicians and it-personnel to focus on the interdisciplinary and collaborative aspects of this work.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Informatics Journal
Pages (from-to)558-566
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • data-driven healthcare, data-work, ethnography, healthcare infrastructures, indicators

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