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“What You See is Not What You Get” - Challenges in Actualization of EHR Affordances

Conference: International Conference on Information Systems, At Seoul December 2017


Geir Inge Hausvik, Devendra Bahadur Thapa


Electronic health record (EHR) systems promise to deliver high quality care to the patient by making patient data digitally available for multiple access. By applying the theory of affordances as an analytical lens, we found that accessibility to patient data can provide the affordances of auditability, systematizability, visualizability, communicability, prioritizability, and accountability. However, to actualize these EHR affordances, we must deal with personal, social, and environmental conversion factors that enable or inhibit the actualization process. To understand the intricacies of actualization of EHR affordances, particularly in information processing activities, we have conducted a qualitative case study where EHR was used in quality assurance of healthcare. The study contributes by revealing the nature of EHR as an ensemble artifact, and identifying path-dependencies between affordances, dynamics of dependencies, and conversion factors that influence the actualization of EHR affordances. Based on the analysis, we suggest implications for theory and practice.