In search of flows synchronization: temporal and informational coordination of healthcare activities in a nuclear medicine unit

Bénédicte Geffroy, François de Corbière, Gwenaëlle Lairet, François Deltour


The article analyzes how the flow of patients and the flow of radiopharmaceuticals are synchronized in a nuclear medicine unit. Both the flows structure the timing of healthcare activities that face specific constraints of time and safety related to the radioactive char- acteristics of the products involved. In such a context, coordination of activities presents informational and temporal aspects that are essential for the activity performance. We provide a framework of analysis in which coordination theory is associated to the multiple times perspective, and we conduct a case study in a nuclear medicine unit. The results high- light healthcare activities are coordinated by: (1) multiple forms of dependencies between activities, (2) combination of chronological and perceived time, and (3) essential role of information exchanges. The research leads to a new definition of synchronization, and to analyse the dependencies between activities including multiple times. Finally, we explain the partial integration of information systems to synchronize both the flows. 


coordination theory, hospital information systems, synchronization, temporality.

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