Wireless networks, mobile devices and associated applications are key emerging technologies ideal for nomadic workers such as clinicians in hospital ward settings. These mobile information environments can potentially enhance clinicians' use of patient management and clinical systems by providing decision support and clinical information at the bedside or point of care. Such technologies need to be critically assessed in a hospital environment for their wider potential and application for delivery of information at the point of care. This paper describes the use of action research methods in a project which analysed an existing clinical Information Communication Technology (ICT) environment in a typical hospital ward setting and the implementation of a mobile infrastructure to support patient management. The research found that although many of the clinicians acknowledged the usefulness of the devices there is a high level of scepticism, concern and "resistive compliance". There were also concerns over change management and training. From the findings, we propose a holistic approach to the introduction of mobile wireless technologies in hospital ward settings based on a variety of activities that need to be undertaken in the implementation environment for successful adoption of these technologies. The action research approach used in this project was found to be a useful approach for understanding the implementation of emerging technologies in a hospital environment provided stakeholder analysis takes place early in the project.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/linda_dawson/38/