Professor Catherine Pope, Professor of Medical Sociology, University of Southampton
Healthcare call handling - decision making inside and outside the machine
Abstract: Clinical decision support systems (CDSS) are computer software programmes designed to assist healthcare decision-making. We have undertaken two studies looking at a CDSS which has been successfully deployed in UK emergency and urgent care settings since 2008 (and which underpins the new NHS 111 service). In looking at the performance of call handling we have revisited ideas about the location of expertise - inside the machine (expert algorithms) and outside it (in the skills of human call handlers). In doing this we have examined the acquisition of clinical knowledge by non-clinical staff and the role of the wider team in managing calls. Exploration of these themes, alongside re-reading Haraway (amongst others) has led us to consider human-machine configurations and cyborgs. In this paper I describe where this journey has taken us and attempt to develop ideas about 'cyborg practices' to understand how technologies are practically enacted and continuously performed in complex healthcare settings. The empirical analysis in this paper is based on approximately 850 hours of observation in healthcare call centres and related sites, semi-structured interviews with 64 individuals and six focus groups with 6-9 individuals supplemented with contextual material from two surveys of health service staff.
Biography: Catherine Pope (Professor of Medical Sociology) is an internationally recognised expert on qualitative research in health care, leading sociological research aimed at changing the way the health and medical profession thinks about and conducts research. Her work applies theory and research tackling the ‘wicked problems’ surrounding how best to organize and deliver modern healthcare, with emphasis on everyday healthcare practice, and the impacts of policy and organisational change on these. Professor Pope’s most recent work combines sociology and ethnography to explore urgent and emergency care, decision-making, communication and technologies in use.
WEDNESDAY 9th JULY 2014
TIME: 12.45 - 2.00
VENUE: Baddiley Clark Seminar Room