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‘Data Saves Lives’: Data Work in a Healthcare Business Intelligence Unit

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European Society for Socially Embedded Technologies (EUSSET)


Big Data and the digitalization of healthcare have encouraged a movement toward becoming data-driven. Although hailed as a solution to a plethora of challenges, the hype of Big Data, however, often oversees that data requires work – by humans. The emergent field of data work emphasizes these skilled but oft-invisible efforts required to make healthcare data-driven. Based on an ethnographic study, this project investigates data work in a healthcare business intelligence unit. The project’s purpose is to identify the skills and tasks that constitute data work within the unit, as well as how healthcare data work roles and tasks change in the process. In this paper, I present findings from my project: I first describe the collaborative work in constructing standardized and reliable data products that are applicable across multiple sites; I then describe the necessary work conducted to implement and disseminate data products in local healthcare practices. Finally, I summarize my next steps and expected contributions.


Pedersen, Asbjoern M. (2023): ‘Data Saves Lives’: Data Work in a Healthcare Business Intelligence Unit. Proceedings of 21st European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work. DOI: 10.48340/ecscw2023_dc04. European Society for Socially Embedded Technologies (EUSSET). EISSN: 2510-2591. Doctoral Colloquium. Trondheim, Norway. 5 June - 09 June, 2023