Relying upon an ethnographical study in the field of intensive care medicine, the paper shows how economic requirements are restructuring medical knowledge and practice on intensive care units (ICUs). As such, emphasis is placed on the special role that the IT network plays in this reorganizing process. The digitalization process allows linking the monitoring system, not only with the electronic patient record, but also with the management information system beyond the ward. Thereby, the former socially and ethically closed sphere of the ICU is opened up to organisational and economical requirements. Presenting two
examples from the case-study, the paper illustrates how the IT network allows the accounting department to control the organization of work on the ICU as well as displaying the way in which medical classification systems are transformed
into economic indicators. Furthermore, the paper explicitly shows how the medical and nursing stuff deal with the conflict of objectives that result from this digitalization and economization process.
|Keywords:||Intensive Care Medicine, Information Technology, Diagnosis Related Groups, Medical Scoring Systems, Digitization Process, Digital Technology, Ethnographical Studies in Medicine|
Department of Sociology, Technical University Berlin, Berlin, Germany
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