IT-supported skill-mix change and standardisation in integrated eyecare: lessons from two screening projects in The Netherlands
International Journal of Integrated Care
Information Technology (IT) has the potential to significantly support skill-mix change and, thereby, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of integrated care. Theory and methods: IT and skill-mix change share an important precondition: the standardisation of work processes. Standardisation plays a crucial role in IT-supported skill-mix change. It is not a matter of more or less standardisation than in the 'old' situation, but about creating an optimal fit. We used qualitative data from
... r evaluation of two integrated-care projects in Dutch eyecare to identify domains where this fit is important. Results: While standardisation was needed to delegate screening tasks from physicians to non-physicians, and to assure the quality of the integrated-care process as a whole, tensions arose in three domains: the performance of clinical tasks, the documentation, and the communication between professionals. Unfunctional standardisation led to dissatisfaction and distrust between the professionals involved in screening. Discussion and conclusion: Although the integration seems promising, much work is needed to ensure a synergistic relationship between skill-mix change and IT. Developing IT-supported skill-mix change by means of standardisation is a matter of tailoring standardisation to fit the situation at hand, while dealing with the local constraints of available technology and organisational context.