Organizational communication and awareness: a novel solution for health informatics

Adams, Anne; Blandford, Ann; Budd, Dawn and Bailey, Neil (2005). Organizational communication and awareness: a novel solution for health informatics. Health Informatics Journal, 11(3) pp. 163–178.



As organizations grow larger and more distributed, the problems of maintaining corporate awareness and effective communication channels escalate. The clinical domain poses particular challenges to maintaining good corporate communications because users have limited time to access information and often have negative technology perceptions. This paper highlights how a screen saver application, initially designed to increase privacy and security, developed into a new communication medium improving corporate communication across the organization. An ethnographic study of the application within a hospital setting, analyzed using grounded theory methods, details the iterative and organic development of the design through ‘community of practice’ involvement. This application was found to not only increase awareness of resources, activities and hospital changes but also positively influence users’ perceptions of, involvement in and ownership of general IT developments. User involvement also raised the importance, for the designers, of application usability, quality and aesthetics. As well as strengths, application limitations are discussed; we also identify further research and developments required if this approach is to realize its full potential.

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