Distributed knowledge in collaborative medical diagnosis

The use of telemedicine to share knowledge across work settings.

Project description

Acute conditions are among the most challenging situations in medicine. A person’s life does sometimes hang in a balance between life and death, and the outcome depends on cooperation between the professionals and on swift decisions and action. In rural areas, communication between local and specialist hospitals is traditionally done via telephone to the specialist team. The use of telemedicine, real-time videoconferencing (VC), supplements the spoken word with virtual sight and constitutes a new and appropriate tool for discussions and instructions in emergency situations.

Efficient communication between local and specialist hospitals optimizes the decisions and treatment of the patient in emergency situations and improves clinical work compared to telephone communication (Bolle, Larsen, Hagen, & Gilbert, 2009). The time between when a situation occurs and when a diagnosis has been given and treatment has begun is important. With the support of a specialist, the local physician may start the treatment and rehabilitation of the patient immediately. Hence, two factors in particular contribute to improving the treatment of the patient: a) local treatment prevents valuable time being spent travelling to a larger hospital and b) distributing knowledge to the hospital where the patient is optimizes the decisions and the treatment.

This post-doc study explores how the use of VC consultations in acute care is organized in order to share and produce the knowledge and information necessary to treat the patient. It seeks to investigate the organizing of the service, the collaborative work, the problem-solving process, and the treatment, and it also gives insight into how and why telemedicine can be an important tool to improve patient treatment in acute situations.

This post-doc will examine the organization and use of VC across work settings, as well as how knowledge is shared and constructed in order to make medical diagnoses in emergency care; i.e. the organization of service, the professionals who participate, the knowledge shared, the knowledge needed (the patients’ conditions), and the use of recourses to solve the problem. The research questions are: How is telemedicine service organized across work settings, and how does this organization affect opportunities to produce knowledge in order to treat the patient? How is knowledge shared and constructed in order to make local medical diagnoses, and in what way does knowledge sharing affect health service delivery?

Financial support

Helse Nord RHF; health care, collaboration and telemedicine (HCT)

Project manager

Last updated

15 December 2016