Socio-technical Infrastructures for Healthcare Automation in NHS Primary Care

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Automation and computerisation technologies are poised to impact some 47 percent of the U.S. labour market. While automation is typically seen as a threat to workers in many economic sectors, it is an opportunity in the current state of NHS England primary care and general practice services. The early findings reported here are from a recently approved research program that employs ethnography to understand the socio-technical interactions of all primary care staff. With a keen eye on the occupational roles, the tasks those occupations perform, and the tasks technologies perform. The concept of junction work is used to discuss opportunities for automation across different task workflows and occupational roles connecting to the infrastructure at each primary care research site. The project aims to better understand questions surrounding the social dynamics of adopting new technologies, detail the existence of current infrastructures, and identify the key features that may resist automation or support the implementation of automative technologies into existing infrastructures. Early findings are from two health centres, one rural and one urban.