A health-care organization simultaneously belongs to two different institutional value patterns: a professional and an administrative value pattern. At the administrative level, medical problem-solving processes are generally perceived as the efficient application of familiar chains of activities to well-defined problems; and a low task uncertainty is therefore assumed at the work-floor level. This assumption is further reinforced through clinical pathways and other administrative guidelines. However, studies have shown that in clinical practice such administrative guidelines are often considered inadequate and difficult to implement mainly because physicians generally perceive task uncertainty to be high and that the guidelines do not cover the scope of encountered deviations. The current administrative level guidelines impose uniform structural features that meet the requirement for low task uncertainty. Within these structural constraints, physicians must organize medical problem-solving processes to meet any task uncertainty that may be encountered. Medical problem-solving processes with low task uncertainty need to be organized independently of processes with high task uncertainty. Each process must be evaluated according to different performance standards and needs to have autonomous administrative guideline models. Although clinical pathways seem appropriate when there is low task uncertainty, other kinds of guidelines are required when the task uncertainty is high.
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