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Fluid Standards in Healthcare Improvement

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Abstract:

In improving the quality of healthcare delivery, standards play a profound role. Scholars in the STS field have pointed out that standards are not always as inflexible and rigid as often proclaimed in medical sociology. Still, the ways in which standards "work" - how they are beneficial to healthcare improvement - remains, for a large part, unknown. This article analyzes the development and use of a guideline for problem behavior, which supports elderly care workers in reducing problem behavior of their clients. Both the development of the guideline by healthcare improvement agents and its use in elderly care practice have been studied using qualitative research methods. Elderly care workers regard the guideline as successful. When used in the way envisioned by developers, it still is experienced as a tool to stimulate reflexivity and gaining insight in care workers’ thinking and acting. To explore this seemingly successful technology, I use the notion of "fluid standard" (adapted from De Laet & Mol 2000). A fluid standard is flexible, adaptable and responsive, is capable to "travel" easily from one site to another, while remaining to some extent true to form and function. I show how a close interaction between development of the guideline and knowledge and experience from the practice of elderly care resulted in the fluidity of the standard, in which the worlds of development and practice become entangled. This article shows that flexibility and standardization are not contradictory, and fluid standards can contribute in a meaningful way to quality improvements in healthcare.
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Association:
Name: 4S Annual Meeting - Abstract and Session Submissions
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http://www.4sonline.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p518373_index.html
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MLA Citation:

van Loon, Esther. "Fluid Standards in Healthcare Improvement" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 4S Annual Meeting - Abstract and Session Submissions, Crowne Plaza Cleveland City Center Hotel, Cleveland, OH, Nov 02, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-25 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p518373_index.html>

APA Citation:

van Loon, E. , 2011-11-02 "Fluid Standards in Healthcare Improvement" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 4S Annual Meeting - Abstract and Session Submissions, Crowne Plaza Cleveland City Center Hotel, Cleveland, OH <Not Available>. 2014-11-25 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p518373_index.html

Publication Type: Paper Abstract
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: In improving the quality of healthcare delivery, standards play a profound role. Scholars in the STS field have pointed out that standards are not always as inflexible and rigid as often proclaimed in medical sociology. Still, the ways in which standards "work" - how they are beneficial to healthcare improvement - remains, for a large part, unknown. This article analyzes the development and use of a guideline for problem behavior, which supports elderly care workers in reducing problem behavior of their clients. Both the development of the guideline by healthcare improvement agents and its use in elderly care practice have been studied using qualitative research methods. Elderly care workers regard the guideline as successful. When used in the way envisioned by developers, it still is experienced as a tool to stimulate reflexivity and gaining insight in care workers’ thinking and acting. To explore this seemingly successful technology, I use the notion of "fluid standard" (adapted from De Laet & Mol 2000). A fluid standard is flexible, adaptable and responsive, is capable to "travel" easily from one site to another, while remaining to some extent true to form and function. I show how a close interaction between development of the guideline and knowledge and experience from the practice of elderly care resulted in the fluidity of the standard, in which the worlds of development and practice become entangled. This article shows that flexibility and standardization are not contradictory, and fluid standards can contribute in a meaningful way to quality improvements in healthcare.


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Improving Student Outcomes by Instituting a Standards-Based Curriculum: Lessons Learned

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