Coordinating time-critical work with role-tagging

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, CSCW




Expertise; Health informatics; Role-tags; Team coordination


A Level-1 US trauma center introduced role-tags in their trauma resuscitation rooms to help team members identify respective medical functions, and to limit the number of people in the rooms to required staff only. We use this in situ experiment with a paper prototype to investigate the role-driven nature of coordination and to identify system requirements for computerized support of role-based coordination in time-critical work. While role information is useful in coordinating time-critical work, our findings show that the current low-tech solution did not provide significant improvement in team coordination. The situations that were most in need of role-identification were the least likely to achieve it because role-tags required work by trauma team members. Similarly, because role-tags allowed workarounds and misuse, they proved ineffective in controlling the number of people in the room. We suggest technological ways of identifying roles to help coordination in the trauma bay. Copyright 2011 ACM.

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