Henwood, F. and Hart, Angie
Articulating gender in the context of ICTs in health care: the case of electronic patient records in the maternity services
Critical Social Policy, 23 (2).
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The article explores the articulation of gender in the context of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in health care. It explores how gender symbolism, gender structures and gender identities combine to produce what may be perceived as `resistance' to the development of electronic patient records (EPRs) in the maternity services. In particular, midwives define their work in opposition to computers, seeing IT work as antithetical to the core `woman-centred' philosophy of midwifery. The article argues that for ICTs to be used to improve both patient care and the skills and working lives of health care practitioners (as in New Labour's vision for the modern NHS), a far more detailed understanding of that care and those working lives is needed. The IT midwife is offered as a key figure in overcoming the gendered boundaries that exist between the IT and midwifery worlds. A case is made for this role to be expanded and supported to enable both sides to move beyond their traditional spheres to engage in the `co-production' of EPR systems that are acceptable to the maternity services staff and clients.
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