#25-21 Technology on the Frontlines … Women’s work disrupted by design

Most frontline workers in hospitals are women; most technology designers are men. The women’s expertise and tacit knowledge is often undervalued, and not communicated to those who design tools they must use. Professor Ellen Balka founded the Assessment of Technology in Context Design Lab at Simon Fraser University in Canada. She headed an international research project to translate from the one sector to the other and get better usability results.

Host(s): Frieda Werden
Featured Speakers/Guests: Ellen Balka, Ph.D. has been a longtime professor in the School of Communication of Simon Fraser University, and a Senior Research Scientist at the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation Studies at Vancouver General Hospital. She also held positions at the School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University; Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia; and School of Health Information Sciences, University of Victoria. At the time of this interview, she was also Director of the Assessment of Technology in Context Design Lab at SFU. She has recently retired. She began the ATIC Lab in 1997 in order to support multi-disciplinary research concerned with socio-technical aspects of technology. ATIC Lab projects focus on (1) the assessment of technology in actual use contexts from users’ perspectives, and (2) the links between the policy environment and user environment. Dr. Balka’s interests include the design and implementation of health sector information technology, technology assessment, end user studies of technology, field research methodology, end user participation in system design, women and technological change, and science, technology and society perspectives on artistic production. 

Credits: Interview recorded by Frieda Werden at CJSF, originally for the program SFU Ideas and Issues. She also edited it for WINGS.

Comments: Part 2 of this interview coming next week.