Unanticipated Influence of Coordination Mechanisms on Physician Workstyles and ED Operational Efficiency
19 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2008 Last revised: 24 Nov 2008
Date Written: February 26, 2008
The coordination of activities in a work context has been examined by many disciplines and in recent years the role of information systems and other artifacts has become increasingly prominent. The emergency department (ED) of a hospital in a large US city is used to study how information systems and other coordinating mechanisms affect how physicians choose to perform their work and how such choices can impact the operational performance of the ED as a whole. The study used direct observation of the work performed in the ED, interviews of physicians, nurses and other ED staff members, and the analysis of historical performance data. The key findings were that the workstyles adopted by physicians were shaped by incidental characteristics of coordination mechanisms. Some workstyles appear to have adverse, albeit unintended, effects on aspects of the department's operational performance.
Keywords: Healthcare operations, coordination mechanisms
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