Complexity in Healthcare Information Technology Systems

  • Willa H. Drummond
  • Jeffrey M. Ferranti
  • Christoph U. Lehmann
  • Donald E. Lighter
Part of the Health Informatics book series (HI)


Changes in healthcare processes are implemented with the goal to improve care through improved patient safety, reduction in costs and work load, and improved communication. However, change often triggers unintended consequences that may cause stress to other healthcare system components, sometimes to a point of outright failure. Change that improves a process in one hospital will not necessarily succeed in another. This chapter discusses how health information techno logy (HIT) as a change agent affects health care delivery in predictable as well as unpredictable ways. We will explore the complexity of existing health care structures using evaluative scenarios of IT implementations. HIT implementations add complexity that may break existing workflow processes and interrupt care delivery in unexpected ways.


Medication Error Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Clinical Decision Support Computerize Physician Order Entry Order Entry 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Willa H. Drummond
    • 1
  • Jeffrey M. Ferranti
    • 2
  • Christoph U. Lehmann
    • Donald E. Lighter
      • 3
      • 4
    1. 1.Division on NeonatologyUniversity of Florida Colleges of Medicine & Veterinary MedicineGainesville
    2. 2.Enterprise Analytics and Patient SafetyDuke University Health SystemDurham
    3. 3.The Institute for Healthcare Quality Research and EducationKnoxville
    4. 4.College of Business AdministrationUniversity of TennesseeKnoxville

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