The success of information technology (IT) in transforming healthcare is often limited by the lack of clear understanding of the context at which the technology is used. Various methods have been proposed to understand healthcare context better in designing and implementing Health Information Systems. These methods often involve cross-sectional, retrospective data collection. This paper describes the postcard method for prospective real-time data collection, both in paper format and electronic format. This paper then describes the results obtained using postcard techniques in Denmark and Australia. The benefits of this technique are illustrated. There are limitations in using postcard techniques and this paper provides a detail discussion about these limitations. Postcard techniques provide unique advantages in understanding real time healthcare context and it is an important technique to consider in IT design and implementation in healthcare.
Studies in Health Technology and Informatics: Human and Sociotechnical Approaches, 2013, p. 202-207