When Clock Time Governs Interaction: How Time Influences Health Professionals’ Intersectoral Collaboration

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When setting up patient pathways that cross health care sectors, professionals in emergency units strive to fulfill system requirements by creating efficient patient pathways that comply with standards for length of stay. We conducted an ethnographic field study, focusing on health professionals’ collaboration, of 10 elderly patients with chronic illnesses, following them from discharge to their home or other places where they received health care services. We found that clock time not only governed the professionals’ ways of collaborating, but acceleration of patient pathways also became an overall goal in health care delivery. Professionals’ efforts to save time came to represent a “monetary value,” leading to speedier planning of patient pathways and consequent risks of disregarding important issues when treating and caring for elderly patients. We suggest that such issues are significant to the future planning and improvement of patient pathways that involve elderly citizens who are in need of intersectoral health care delivery.

Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Health Research
Pages (from-to)2059-2070
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018

    Research areas

  • Ethnography, Scandinavia, chronic illness and disease, culture of health care, decision-making, home care, older people, qualitative, social constructionism

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