The Influence of Telepathology on Coordination Practices
journal contributionposted on 24.05.2021, 20:43 by Julien Meyer, Guy Paré
Background: Coordination between physicians and allied professionals is essential to the effective delivery of care services and is associated with positive patient outcomes. As information technology can radically transform how professionals collaborate, both researchers and health care accreditation bodies are devoting a growing interest to the means of achieving better coordination. Introduction: The primary aim of this study is to explain the extent to which and how coordination practices between pathologists, technologists, and surgeons are transformed when telepathology is being implemented. Materials and Methods: An interpretive case study was conducted. A total of 60 semi-structured interviews with key participants were conducted, in addition to several days of direct observation of telepathology-based intraoperative consultations (IOC). Results: Three major kinds of transformation of coordination practices were observed. First, the telepathology system itself constrains and disrupts coordination routines, such as the presentation of slides. Second, anticipating IOC, proactively performed by the laboratory personnel in traditional settings, requires more formal requests in a telepathology context. Third, local technologists become more autonomous in performing complex macroscopy manipulations and managing the laboratory, tasks traditionally performed by pathologists. Conclusions: Successful coordination of work in a telepathology-based IOC context requires that significant transformations be anticipated and accounted for. Project managers need to formalize new work processes, support the transformations in professional roles and mitigate the major hindrances that small material changes may have on work routines.