Collaborative Affordances of Medical Records

Jakob Eyvind Bardram, Steven Houben

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

271 Downloads (Pure)


This article proposes the concept of Collaborative Affordances to describe physical and digital properties (i.e., affordances) of an artifact, which affords coordination and collaboration in work. Collaborative Affordances build directly on Gibson (1977)’s affordance concept and extends the work by Sellen and Harper (2003) on the affordances of physical paper. Sellen and Harper describe how the physical properties of paper affords easy reading, navigation, mark-up, and writing, but focuses, we argue, mainly on individual use of paper and digital technology. As an extension to this, Collaborative Affordances focusses on the properties of physical and digital artifacts that affords collaborative
activities. We apply the concept of Collaborative Affordances to the study of paper-based and electronic patient records in hospitals and detail how they afford collaboration through four types of Collaborative Affordances; being portable across patient wards and the entire hospital, by providing collocated access, by providing a shared overview of medical data, and by giving clinicians ways to maintain mutual awareness. We then discuss how the concept of Collaborative Affordances can be used in the design of new technology by providing a design study of a ‘Hybrid Patient Record’ (HyPR), which is designed to seamlessly blend and integrate paper-based with electronic patient records.
Original languageEnglish
JournalComputer Supported Cooperative Work
Number of pages36
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2017. This article is an open access publication


  • Collaborative affordances
  • Paper records
  • Electronic health records
  • Hybrid patient record
  • Clinical work


Dive into the research topics of 'Collaborative Affordances of Medical Records'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this