Keeping Distributed Care Together: Medical Summaries Reconsidered
Summaries in the medical record have traditionally offered health professionals good cognitive support by guiding reading of the medical record and supporting communication and collaboration in clinical teams. However, because of increased distribution of chronic care and fragmentation of the medical record, summaries are becoming increasingly incomplete and have lost some of their ability to mediate collaboration in clinical teams and support situated sensemaking. Based on findings from a project aimed at studying and designing IT to support collaboration among health professionals in distributed, chronic care, this article present a detail study of current use of summaries and discusses how a new type of summary can be designed to offer better support for distributed, chronic care. Overall I argue that we must maintain an appropriate balance between structure and flexibility, while reconsidering the readership, the authorship, and the maintenance of summaries.