The Aging of a Clinical Information System

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Citation of Original Publication

Roy Rada, Scott Finley, The aging of a clinical information system, Journal of Biomedical Informatics, Volume 37, Issue 5, 2004, Pages 319-324, ISSN 1532-0464,


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The senescence of a clinical information system is more likely to have administrative than technical bases. Supporting this claim is a case study of one aging oncology information system. The case study is qualitative, as behooves the subject matter. Content analysis of several documents suggests that the change in job description of the data coordinator led to a workflow breakdown. Next, twenty-two individuals were interviewed. Notes from the interviews were coded, and the resulting patterns led to • partial support for the workflow breakdown conjecture, • refutation of the hypothesis that users disliked the character-based, human–computer interface, • support of the conjecture that political rather than technical factors drive the usage patterns of the system, and • evidence that ‘political’ activity will determine the future of the information system. A stakeholder matrix is proposed that addresses administrative concerns. Also, the issue of the uniqueness of any oncology clinical information system is linked to the plans for this legacy system.