Learning from errors in digital patient communication: Professionals’ enactment of negative knowledge and digital ignorance in the workplace

Journal of Workplace Learning 35 (5) (2023)
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Purpose. The purpose of this study is to investigate how professionals learn from varying experiences with errors in health-care digitalization and develop and use negative knowledge and digital ignorance in efforts to improve digitalized health care. Design/methodology/approach. A two-year qualitative field study was conducted in the context of a public health-care organization working with digital patient communication. The data consisted of participant observation, semistructured interviews and document data. Inductive coding and a theoretically informed generation of themes were applied. Findings. The findings show that both health-care and digital communication professionals learn through experiences with digital “rule-” and “knowledge-based” errors in patient communication and develop negative knowledge and awareness of digital ignorance. In their joint efforts, they use negative knowledge to “bend the rules” and to explore digital ignorance in efforts to improve patient communication. Originality/value. This study provides insight into the importance of collaboration between professionals with varying experience of errors in digitalizing patient communication. Such collaboration is required to acknowledge own shortcomings and create complementary negative knowledge to improve digital patient communication. This is particularly important when working with innovative digitalization in health care.

Author's Profile

Jaana Parviainen
Tampere University


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