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Tensions in Representing Behavioral Data in an Electronic Health Record

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Taking an action research approach, we engaged in fieldwork with school-based behavioral health care teams to: observe record keeping practices, design and deploy a prototype system addressing key challenges, and reflect on its use. We describe the challenges of capturing behavioral data using both paper and electronic records. Creating records of behaviors requires direct observation, and as a result the record keeping responsibility is challenging to distribute across a care team. Behavioral data on paper must be transferred and prepared for reporting, both inside the organization and to stakeholders outside of the organization. In prototyping a computerized working record, we targeted user needs for capturing details of a behavioral incident in the moment. Challenges persisted through the transition from paper to our prototype, and based on these empirical findings over two years of fieldwork, we present five tensions in representing behavioral data in an electronic health record. These tensions reflect the differences between entering behavioral data into the record for intraorganizational use versus interorganizational use.


Marcu, Gabriela; Dey, Anind K.; Kiesler, Sara (2021): Tensions in Representing Behavioral Data in an Electronic Health Record. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 30, No. 3. DOI: 10.1007/s10606-021-09402-7. Springer. PISSN: 1573-7551. pp. 393-424