Gaps Between Intended and Actual Use - Turning Problems into Opportunities in Health Informatics

Alf Westelius, Mats Edenius


There has been a rapid increase in interest to utilise the www for communication between the healthcare sector and the public. However, the potential seen by proponents is far greater than the actual achieved use. Some proponents may have overrated the potential, but in many projects there is a gap between the actual and possible achievement. In this article, we explore how the gap between envisaged and actual use can be closed, drawing on published healthcare management and health informatics studies, Actor-Network Theory and using two case studies of Swedish health informatics services. We identify two important factors for closing the gap. The first is an attitude towards unintended use as a source of further valuable adoption, rather than as behaviour to be corrected. The second is the identification and promotion of networks that support the use of the eservice, rather than focusing too narrowly on the e-service itself.

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