Working together in emergency care? How professional boundaries influence integration efforts and operational performance

Rachel Gifford*, Taco van der Vaart, Eric Molleman, M. Christien van der Linden

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

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Purpose Emergency care delivery is a process requiring input from various healthcare professionals within the hospital. To deliver efficient and effective emergency care, professionals must integrate rapidly at multiple interfaces, working across functional, spatial and professional boundaries. Yet, the interdisciplinary nature of emergency care presents a challenge to the optimization of patient flow, as specialization and functional differentiation restrict integration efforts. This study aims to question what boundaries exist at the level of professionals and explores how these boundaries may come to influence integration and operational performance. Design/methodology/approach To provide a more holistic understanding of the inherent challenges to integration at the level of professionals and in contexts where professionals play a key role in determining operational performance, the authors carried out an in-depth case study at a busy, Level 1 trauma center in The Netherlands. In total, 28 interviews were conducted over an 18-month period. Findings The authors reveal the existence of structural, relational and cultural barriers between (medical) professionals from different disciplines. The study findings demonstrate how relational and cultural boundaries between professionals interrupt flows and delay service processes. Originality/value This study highlights the importance of interpersonal and cultural dynamics for internal integration and operational performance in emergency care processes. The authors unveil how the presence of professional boundaries creates opportunity for conflict and delays at important interfaces within the emergency care process, and can ultimately accumulate, disrupting patient flow and increasing lead times.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)54-78
Aantal pagina's25
TijdschriftInternational Journal of Operations & Production Management
Nummer van het tijdschrift13
StatusPublished - 15-mrt.-2022

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