"IT Health Care Development" is an incredible example of a paper on the health system. The vast changes happening in the contemporary period have affected not only the relations of nations but also the manner with which corporations and organizations have been conducting their businesses. Instead of this, factors working and acting at the same time have generated an impetus for change. These factors are technological advancements, human factors, organizational change, global society, nature of information, global, national and local politics, and customer orientation and expectations (Mumford 2006, Coombs et al 2001; Comite 2009; Soros 2002; Calder & Watkins 2008; Hastings & McDermott 2006). Technological advancements in information systems are not removed from reality or the context with which it is applied (Mumford 1991, 2006).
It is connected with several other factors such as politics, nature of the organization, customers’ expectations, and other similar elements, which are working together to provide 21st-century service (Wyatt & Wyatt 2002). Furthermore, the role of information technology in the dissemination of right and necessary information contributes to arriving at the right decision which is fundamental in the era of information (Chandra 2008; Sipior & Ward 2008; Purser 2004). However, the socio-technical framework is inherently a complex relationship that cannot be grasped by just looking at one of its facets or elements.
As such, the necessity of understanding the socio-technical relations in the contemporary period stems from the reality that the socio-technical framework is an integral part of contemporary society. In this regard, the principles supporting it are “ compatibility, minimal critical specification, the socio-technical criterion, the multifunctionality principle, boundary locations, information. Support congruence, design, and human values, which requires jobs to be reasonably demanding, opportunity to learn, an area for decision making, social support, the opportunity to relate work with social life and job that leads to a desired future life.
Finally, incompletion is the recognition that designs are an iterative process. ” (Mumford 2006, p 322 – 323) are all deemed part of its intricate reality. This conceptual and theoretical elucidation becomes clearer in a real-life context. NPfIT is a concrete instance of the meeting between society and technology addressing a common concern – health care. The program is the most extensive “ IT healthcare development of its kind in the world and constitutes the largest single IT investment in the UK to date. 2 It aims to enable the NHS in England to treat patients more effectively by, for example, making accurate patient records available at all times, transferring information rapidly between different parts of the NHS, and accurately transmitting prescriptions to pharmacies” (Hendy et al 2007; House of Commons 2007).
NPfIT is the tool with which safer and better care of the patient will be achieved, the availability of the necessary information anywhere and anytime it is needed by the health care team as they endeavor in giving patients the best care will be realized and appropriate information and data for the managers are made easily accessible.
This is what NPfIT offers. Looking at it from this perspective, NPfIT is a laudable program. However, it has been noted that the programs have excluded and marginalized the major end-users of the program – clinicians and patients. The clinicians have not been consulted during the procurement phase of the project (House of Commons 2007; Humber 2004).
In effect, the program has been deemed as “ not doctor friendly” (Keen 2006) as it only makes clinician’ s function more difficult than before. On the other hand, the opinions and concerns of the patients have not been well integrated into the IT system. This reality is obvious from the fact that minimal public consultation has been made during the entire procurement phase of the program (Humber, 2004). It is too secretive (Humber, 2004). Their opinion is important because patients’ care is at the center of all these reforms and yet they are left out from the decision-making. Moreover, the NPfIT has made the patient’ s record accessible to anybody who wants access to patients’ records at any time anywhere since they have the necessary authority even without informing the patient, the owner of the record.
This is a very important concern as it undermines patients’ privacy, it undercuts the patient’ s right over her medical records and it puts into quandary the confidentiality between doctor-patient relation. These concerns do not only weakens patients rights but it also destabilizes doctor-patient relation. In this regard, because of the marginalization of both the clinicians and the patients in the NPfIT program, clinicians view it with skepticism, approaches it with much anxiety and unease, opens a gap between clinicians and NHS and, finally, clinicians are wary of it resulting into the minimal application of the system.
While for the patients, the process becomes tedious and a cause of rising concern as IT loopholes threaten the privacy and integrity of patients' records, as well as frustrating as the IT system makes it more difficult for them to book appointments.
In this sense, it is not only a waste of money but it is also a waste of time for all the stakeholders of this program. The minimal communication and dialogue among the patients, the clinicians, NHS and other concern institutions in the NPfIT has resulted into clinician-patient exclusion from the program (Williams, 2005; Humber 2004; House of Commons 2007), loss of money, waste of time, and, on how socio-technical relation can be a burden to the social dialogue and communication among all those involved in the issue is not consciously integrated into the program.