Healthcare Multidisciplinary Teams: The Sociotechnical approach for an integrated system-wide perspective

Stefano Villa, M. Marsilio, A. Torbica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: The current literature on the enabling conditions of multidisciplinary teams focuses on the singular dimensions of the organizations (i.e., human resources, clinical pathways, objects) without shedding light on to the way in which these organizational factors interact and mutually influence one another. Purpose: Drawing on a system perspective of organizations, the authors analyze the organizational patterns that promote and support multidisciplinary teams and how they interrelate and interact to enforce the organization work system. Methodology/Approach: The authors develop a modified sociotechnical system (STS) model to understand how the two dimensions of technical (devices/tools, layout/organization of space, core process standardization) and social (organizational structure, management of human resources and operations) can facilitate the implementation of multidisciplinary teams in health care. The study conducts an empirical analysis based on a sample of hospital adopters of transcatheter aortic valve implantation using the revised STS model. Findings: The modified STS model applied to the case studies improves our understanding of the critical implementation factors of a multidisciplinary approach and the importance of coordinating radical changes in the technical and the social subsystems of health care organizations. The analysis informs that themultidisciplinary effort is not a sequential process and that the interplay between the two subsystems needs to bemanaged efficaciously as an integrated organizational whole to deliver the goals set. Practice Implications: Hospital managers must place equal focus on the closely interrelated technical and social dimensions by investing in (a) shared layouts and spaces that cross the boundaries of the specialized health care units, (b) standardization of the core processes through the implementation of local clinical pathways, (c) structured knowledge management mechanisms, (d) the creation of clinical directorates, and (e) the design of a planning and budgeting system that integrates the multidisciplinary concept.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-327
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Care Management Review
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • health care delivery processes, multidisciplinary teams, sociotechnical system, system-wide approach, technological innovation


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