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TU Berlin

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Medical care

From the point of view of HF/E, modern health systems are marked by increasing specialization and technologicaldevelopment. Expert care and "high-tech" services are both the basis and the result of biomedical progress. However, in addition to potentially increasing costs, they also lead to structural fragmentation ofhealth systems. Thus, care must be coordinated across more and more health professionals, even for clearly defined disease patterns. This increases the likelihood of information gaps and misunderstandings, and ultimately ineffective, if not faulty, care delivery.

On the other hand, structural fragmentation also leads to social fragmentation. Health professionals are no longer responsible for a patient, but "only" for a clearly defined aspect of care. In a system that is marked by specialization, patients and health professionalstend to be more and more out of touch, which reduces opportunities for personal relationships and makes understandingpatients’ needs more difficult. In the end, patients are frequently on their own when it comes to understanding complex treatment plans and integrating them into routines of their everyday life.

In our research, we use ethnographic methods to assess which co-ordination problems health professionals and patients face. We use big-data modeling, questionnaires, and field experiments to test interventions that help these actors coordinate care as effectively as possible and thus ensure quality of care. A central question is how to standardize coordination processes - both by changing the work environment and through educational interventions – while, at the same time,enabling adaptation of care delivery to the individual needs of the patient.

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