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Case study: Networked hospital - new tensions and new alliances

The hospital sector is undergoing a digital transformation. Between 2021 and 2025, the German government is investing 4.3 billion euros in the digitalization of German hospitals, which are less digitalized than the European average. The focus is on cross-ward networking through the establishment of hospital information systems (HIS) and the connected subsystems. In a new case study, ECDF researchers examine the impact of software on work management and control as well as the opportunities for interest groups.

hese networked software systems should enable an unprecedented degree of data consistency and utilization and thus massive efficiency gains. In the qualitative intensive care case study, researchers Philipp Staab, ECDF Professor for the Digitization of Work at Huboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Julia Bringmann and Benjamin Henry Petersen look at a hospital that is digitalized to an above-average degree. They examine the effects of the introduction of HIS on the organization of work in nursing, opportunities for co-determination in digitization projects and the need for legal action.

The hospital studied is characterized by a high degree of digitalization: It has a comprehensive HIS that connects different wards and integrates subsystems such as a closed medication system and software for communication with the emergency services. "Nursing staff are intrinsically motivated by their professional self-image to ensure optimal patient care, and rigid control structures are neither necessary nor expedient because the complexity of day-to-day care requires personal responsibility and spontaneity. The use of a comprehensive HIS does nothing to change this," says ECDF Professor Philipp Staab. According to the authors, an efficiency alliance between management and employee representatives is emerging with regard to operational co-determination, which is a successful example of early co-determination and thus prevents employee stress.

The study is published in the journal of the Hans Böckler Foundation's Institute of Economic and Social Sciences. To the study: //here