This thesis presents our study of medical students in their clinical practice and their use of mobile terminals, serving as information resources, in relation to the Knowmobile project. The main objective is to shed light upon conditions for the possibility for use of mobile terminals, serving as an information resource, in contextsrelated to the clinical practice. By focusing on this objective, we hope to give a contribution to the area of mobile informatics.
The empirical work consists of interviews of medical students and contextual inquiries in the clinical contexts, hospital and general practitioner’s office, and the context of travelling by train. Our empirical work has been supplied by other reports written by master students, researchers and the users in the Knowmobile project.
As a tool for reaching our goal, we developed a prototype of an e-book based on the findings from the interviews. The main intents of the prototype were to provide an additional service to the medical students, and that the use of this prototype could illuminate use of mobile terminals as an information resource in general. We carried through the contextual inquiries with the prototype and note taking bymeans of the mobile terminal in focus.
Our discussion is based on literature studies and the findings from the contextual inquiries. The literature studies have ranged from core technical articles and reports about mobile technology, through mobile IT use and information infrastructures, to science of artifacts. We believe that this wide scope of literature has given us a good insight in order to accomplish the goal of our thesis.
The title of this thesis reflects our most distinct discovery: We observed a very limited use of the mobile terminal in the medical students’ clinical contexts. We observed that they prefered to use other resources instead, and often left the mobile terminal at home or in the cloak room at the practice location. When moving awayfrom the clinical contexts and the clinical tasks, the use increased.
Through a cross-case analysis of our empirical data and discussion, we state that several aspects affect the use, or more correctly: the non-use of the mobile terminal. We state that the use is dependent upon the characteristics and resources of the mobile terminal as well as the other information resources available in the context. In addition, we believe that because the use of the mobile terminal wasnot perceived as a part of the community of practice, the medical students did not find the mobile terminal useful in their clinical practice.