Socio-technical approaches to health information systems evaluation are particularly relevant to the study of Computerised Provider Order Entry (CPOE) systems. Pathology services are made up of a number of departments each with unique and complex tasks and requirements. These different components of pathology have received very little research attention. This study used qualitative methods to identify key organisational and work process along with repercussions of the implementation of CPOE through a comparison of the Haematology and Clinical Chemistry departments of a hospital pathology service. The results focus attention on areas where the departments face similar challenges along with those areas where work practices diverged. This underlined the key importance of understanding the context and setting of pathology laboratories. The study also draws attention to the importance of cross departmental and multi-disciplinary negotiation in the implementation process and highlights the potential for technology to affect and be affected by the organisational context in which it is placed.
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