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Web-based collaboration in individual care planning challenges the user and the provider roles – toward a power transition in caring relationships

Authors Bjerkan J, Vatne S, Hollingen A

Received 2 July 2014

Accepted for publication 13 August 2014

Published 8 December 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 561—572


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Jorunn Bjerkan,1,2 Solfrid Vatne,3 Anne Hollingen4

1Norwegian Research Centre for Electronic Health Records (EHR), Medical Faculty, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, 2Faculty of Health Science, Nord-Trøndelag University College, Levanger, 3Faculty of Health Science, Molde University College, 4Møre og Romsdal Hospital Trust, Molde, Norway

Background and objective: The Individual Care Plan (ICP) was introduced in Norway to meet new statutory requirements for user participation in health care planning, incorporating multidisciplinary and cross-sector collaboration. A web-based solution (electronic ICP [e-ICP]) was used to support the planning and documentation. The aim of this study was to investigate how web-based collaboration challenged user and professional roles.
Methods: Data were obtained from 15 semistructured interviews with users and eight with care professionals, and from two focus-group interviews with eight care professionals in total. The data were analyzed using systematic text condensation in a stepwise analysis model.
Results: Users and care professionals took either a proactive or a reluctant role in e-ICP collaboration. Where both user and care professionals were proactive, the pairing helped to ensure that the planning worked well; so did pairings of proactive care professionals and reluctant users. Proactive users paired with reluctant care professionals also made care planning work, thanks to the availability of information and the users' own capacity or willingness to conduct the planning. Where both parties were reluctant, no planning activities occurred.
Conclusion: Use of the e-ICP challenged the user–professional relationship. In some cases, a power transition took place in the care process, which led to patient empowerment. This knowledge might be used to develop a new understanding of how role function can be challenged when users and care professionals have equal access to health care documentation and planning tools.

Keywords: integrated care, patient participation, empowerment, role transition, system testing, web-based collaboration, Norway

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