A Worker-Driven Common Information Space: Interventions into a Digital Future
This paper empirically investigates a Common Information Space (CIS) established by medical secretaries so they could support each other during their workplace’s transition to a new comprehensive electronic health record, called the Healthcare Platform (HP). With the new system, the secretaries were expected to become partially obsolete, as doctors were to take on a significant load of the clerical work, such as documenting and coding. To handle their changing work situation, the medical secretaries set up an online support group in parallel to, but independent from, the official implementation support organization. The paper’s contribution is a characterization of the support group as a common information space (CIS), and analysis of the specific qualities of a worker-driven CIS as a forum for 1) articulation work required for re-grounding changing tasks and responsibilities, 2) archiving discussions (posts) and guidelines to further their collective interpretation, and 3) creating a space independent of management for employees to work out their new role in an organization in a situation of transition and change.