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Significance of scientific evidence in organizing care processes

Henna Hasson (Medical Management Centre, Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden AND Vårdal Institute, Swedish Institute for Health Sciences, Lund, Sweden)
Staffan Blomberg (School of Social Work, Vårdal Institute, Swedish Institute for Health Sciences, Lund University, Lund, Sweden)
Anna Dunér (Department of Social Work, Vårdal Institute, Swedish Institute for Health Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Anneli Sarvimäki (The Age Institute, Helsinki, Finland)

Journal of Health Organization and Management

ISSN: 1477-7266

Article publication date: 20 June 2016

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze how staff and managers in health and social care organizations use scientific evidence when making decisions about the organization of care practices.

Design/methodology/approach

Document analysis and repeated interviews (2008-2010) with staff (n=39) and managers (n=26) in health and social care organizations. The respondents were involved in a randomized controlled study about testing a continuum of care model for older people.

Findings

Scientific evidence had no practical function in the social care organization, while it was a prioritized source of information in the health care organization. This meant that the decision making regarding care practices was different in these organizations. Social care tended to rely on ad hoc practice-based information and political decisions when organizing care, while health care to some extent also relied in an unreflected manner on the scientific knowledge.

Originality/value

The study illustrates several difficulties that might occur when managers and staff try to consider scientific evidence when making complicated decisions about care practices.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank all the interview respondents. The Vårdal Institute financed this implementation study and the development and evaluation of the intervention “Continuum of care for frail elderly persons, from the emergency ward to living at home intervention.” In addition, the project received funding from the Vinnvård research program. The first author also received a postdoctoral funding from ERA-AGE2, Future Leaders of Ageing Research in Europe (FLARE)/Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research.

Citation

Hasson, H., Blomberg, S., Dunér, A. and Sarvimäki, A. (2016), "Significance of scientific evidence in organizing care processes", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 597-612. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHOM-12-2013-0271

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited