Improving client-centred care and services: The role of front/back-office configurations

M. Broekhuis, S.A. de Blok, B.R. Meijboom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Aim.  This paper is a report of a study conducted to explore the application of designing front- and back-office work resulting in efficient client-centred care in healthcare organizations that supply home care, welfare and domestic services.

Background.  Front/back-office configurations reflect a neglected domain of design decisions in the development of more client-centred processes and structures without incurring major cost increases.

Method.  Based on a literature search, a framework of four front/back-office configurations was constructed. To illustrate the usefulness of this framework, a single, longitudinal case study was performed in a large organization, which provides home care, welfare and domestic services for a sustained period (2005–2006).

Findings.  The case study illustrates how front/back-office design decisions are related to the complexity of the clients’ demands and the strategic objectives of an organization. The constructed framework guides the practical development of front/back-office designs, and shows how each design contributes differently to such performance objectives as quality, speed and efficiency.

Conclusions.  The front/back-office configurations presented comprise an important first step in elaborating client-centred care and service provision to the operational level. It helps healthcare organizations to become more responsive and to provide efficient client-centred care and services when approaching demand in a well-tuned manner. In addition to its applicability in home care, we believe that a deliberate front/back-office configuration also has potential in other fields of health care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)971-980
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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