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Buffer management to solve bed-blocking in the Netherlands, 2000-2010. Cooperation from an integrated care chain perspective as a key success factor for managing patient flows.

Authors:

Ingrid Mur ,

Maastricht University, NL
About Ingrid
Dr. Ingrid Mur is associate professor at the department of Health Policy Organization and Economics at the Faculty of Health Medicine and Life Sciences. Het expertise is in the field of organizational science, management and change management.
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Mark Govers

Maastricht University, NL
About Mark
Dr. Mark Govers is assistant professor at the department of Health Policy Organization and Economics. He teaches Logistics and Organizational Science.
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Abstract

Introduction: Bed-blocking problems in hospitals reflect how difficult and complex it is to move patients smoothly through the chain of care. In the Netherlands, during the first decade of the 21st century, some hospitals attempted to tackle this problem by using an Intermediate Care Department (ICD) as a buffer for bed-blockers. However, research has shown that ICDs do not sufficiently solve the bed-blocking problem and that bed-blocking is often caused by a lack of buffer management.

Tool: Buffer management (BM) is a tool that endeavors to balance patient flow in the hospital to nursing home chain of care. 

Results: Additional research has indicated that the absence of BM is not the result of providers' thinking that BM is unnecessary, unethical or impossible because of unpredictable patient flows. Instead, BM is hampered by a lack of cooperation between care providers.

Conclusion: Although stakeholders recognize that cooperation is imperative, they often fail to take the actions necessary to realize cooperation. Our assumption is that this lack of willingness and ability to cooperate is the result of several impeding conditions as well as stakeholders' perceptions of these conditions and the persistence of their current routines, principles and beliefs (RPBs).

Discussion: We recommend simultaneously working on improving the conditions and changing stakeholders' perceptions and RPBs.

How to Cite: Mur I, Govers M. Buffer management to solve bed-blocking in the Netherlands, 2000-2010. Cooperation from an integrated care chain perspective as a key success factor for managing patient flows.. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2011;11(5):None. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/ijic.650
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Published on 25 Jul 2011.
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