DescriptionThe ‘other’ role of the medical secretaries: Facilitating and maintaining communication, coordination and collaboration in Danish hospitals. Pernille Bertelsen, Aalborg University, Denmark email@example.com Medical secretaries have a great variety of duties in Danish hospitals, and often act as the organisational ‘glue’ or connecting thread between other professional groups. Further, their present performance is closely linked to their historical and administrative employment at ward level. Medical secretaries play a key role guarding and guiding information at the hospital information highway and thus making sure the rigth information is available when needed by the other professional groups. Introduction of electronic health records (EHR) entail substantial organisational change to the work practise of all the clinical and administrative staff in the hospitals. Announced as a consequence of the introduction of EHR, several hospital owners have predicted a substantial reduction in the number of medical secretaries. This paper draws on an empirical study of the work practise of medical secretaries . The study shows how medical secretaries play a crucial role supporting/facilitating the hospital information infrastructure. Seven major work categories were identified, each accomodating a vaste number of activities: 1. Support of clinical care plans 2. Administration of the professional clinical staff 3. Miscellaneous clerical tasks 4. Research and development activities 5. Data input to the medical record 6. Data output from the medical record 7. Other operations involving the medical records Radical changes in work routines for medical secretaries, along with the introduction of EHR, target categori 5, 6 and 7. Therefore, the work in categori 1-4 still remains to be carried out. If not so, the work of the other professional groups will be affected – as well as the patient’s treatment. Based on the empirical findings the paper discuss the formal and informal role of the the medical secretaries work practise, arguing their present role as ‘social carriers’ of an information infrastructure technology system , that matches the current organisation of patient treatment in Danish hospitals. Recognition of the plural work practise of the medical secretaries as well as other professional staff at a local level is needed to create a balanced basis for discussing both the formal and the informal change in the local information infrastructure technology that EHR bring about.
|Period||20 Jun 2006|
|Event title||Infrastructures for Health Care|