The role of 'mediators' of communication in health professionals' intersectoral collaboration: An ethnographically inspired study

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Several studies describe intersectoral collaboration in Western healthcare as hampered
by lack of coordination of care and treatment and incoherent patient pathways.
We performed an ethnographic study following elderly patients from admission to an
emergency unit (EMU) to discharge and further treatment and care at other facilities
in the healthcare system. The aim was to explore how health professionals work together
across sectors in the Danish healthcare system and how they create patient
pathways for elderly patients (+65) with multiple chronic illnesses. Intersectoral collaboration
was identified as distant relations between large numbers of health professionals,
where communication was conveyed by electronic health record (EHR)
formats which promoted information delivery that focused on patients’ immediate
symptoms. Other significant ‘mediators’ of communication were the telephone that
seemed to resemble face‐to‐face communication and the patient who delivered information
from one professional to another. We suggest that the communication
among professionals at various facilities interacts with the format and functionalities
of the EHRs, which typically fall short in delivery of information across sectors, because
the often complex needs of patients with multimorbidity do not fit in with the
available functionalities of the EHR.
TidsskriftNursing Inquiry
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - okt. 2019


  • chronic illness, Electronic health records, intersectoral collaboration, symbolic interactionism

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