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Beyond handover: supporting awareness for continuous coverage

Randell, R., Wilson, S., Woodward, P. & Galliers, J. R. (2010). Beyond handover: supporting awareness for continuous coverage. COGNITION TECHNOLOGY & WORK, 12(4), pp. 271-283. doi: 10.1007/s10111-010-0138-3


Abstract Hospitals are required to operate as a continuous system because patient care cannot be temporarily suspended and handover is seen as a key method for enabling this. This paper reports a study of handover in a medical admissions unit. We draw on the notion of awareness as conceptualised within the Computer Supported Cooperative Work literature to explore the role played by a variety of cognitive artifacts in supporting continuous coverage. While such awareness is typically characterised as being ‘effortless’, our study reveals that maintaining awareness in a context such as the medical admissions unit is effortful due to invisible work. We suggest that the notion of awareness is beneficial for exploring the practices of continuous coverage because it moves attention away from the moment of handover, instead encouraging consideration of the variety of practices through which clinicians display their work to, and monitor the work of, colleagues on different shifts. We argue that efforts to support continuous coverage should focus on improving awareness by increasing the visibility of information.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: he final publication is available at Springer via
Publisher Keywords: Healthcare, handover, awareness, cognitive artifacts
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Computer Science > Human Computer Interaction Design
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