Exploring Medical Practitioners Experiences with Electronic Health Data: A Sensemaking Perspective


  • Emma Whitelock-Wainwright Monash University
  • Dragan Gasevic Monash University
  • Stella Talic Monash University
  • David Rankin Cabrini Health


Background: Healthcare organisations sit upon a wealth of administrative data that, if suitably leveraged, has the potential to support clinical performance improvement. This includes providing medical practitioners with opportunities to reflect on their practice by increasing awareness of prior performances through data.

Aims: The current project seeks to understand the experiences of medical practitioners engaging with data from the perspective of sensemaking. For this project, sensemaking is defined as the process an individual enacts when attempting to understand a novel or unexpected situation. Insights into this process will ensure that data remains meaningful and actionable for medical practitioners (e.g. promotes personal reflection and continued performance improvement).

Methods:This research project will answer four overarching research questions using a series of mixed-method approaches. First, a systematic review will be conducted to qualitatively analyse existing research on medical practitioners’ experiences with electronic health data. The second study will encompass a series of semi-structured interviews to understand existing data practices. The third and fourth studies will explore the cognitive and social aspects of the sensemaking process, respectively. This exploration will use interviews, repertory grids, ethnographic methods, and epistemic network analysis to understand the sensemaking process.

Results: Results are expected to show that medical practitioners have a variety of experiences when engaging with electronic health data. This is in addition to highlighting a range of factors that  impact data engagement.

Conclusions: The conclusions, implications, and recommendations will be shared upon project completion.