Objective: The purpose of this study is to identify challenges to inter-departmental coordination activities that affect patient transfer workflow and to provide socio-technical requirements for the design of technologies to better support patient transfer workflow. Design: We conducted our study in two clinical and one non-clinical department at a major academic hospital. We utilized qualitative data collection techniques including observations of patient transfer practices of the different departments and interviews with departmental staff to collect data on the inter-departmental coordination activities and its effect on patient transfer workflow. Results: We identified three inter-departmental challenges that affected the patient transfer workflow: ineffective inter-departmental interactions, ineffective information handoffs, and ineffectiveness of current information technologies. Discussion: To address these challenges, we discuss three socio-technical design requirements that designers need to pay attention to while developing inter-departmental healthcare information systems. To ensure effective inter-departmental coordination, the systems should incorporate features that can support the mediating role of integrators, the collaborative balancing of goals, and the collaborative prioritization of resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-122
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Informatics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2010


  • Clinical and non-clinical departments
  • Cooperative behavior
  • Coordination
  • Information management
  • Inter-departmental workflows
  • Patient transfers
  • Qualitative study


Dive into the research topics of 'Challenges to inter-departmental coordination of patient transfers: A workflow perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this