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Evidence-Based Management for Performance Improvement in Health Care

Special issue call for papers from Management Decision

Evidence-Based Management for Performance Improvement in Health Care


Overview and Purpose
Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) – i.e. the practice of “integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research” (Sakett et al., 1996) – has received increased attention over the past 20 years. While there has been some disapproval of evidence-based practice, the principles of this approach have been widely accepted in public health. More recent discussions have focused on extending EBM to management by leveraging on the progressive availability of large bodies of data.

The enthusiasm for Evidence-Based Management (EBMgt) in healthcare has been reinforced by the serious concerns for the sustainability over time of the healthcare systems of the most developed Countries. In this view, scholars of different disciplines such as management, organization theory and design, operations and innovation management, public management, operational research, etc. have started an intense debate on how theories and practices on performance improvement that have been developed so far in manufacturing companies need to be rethought and extended when applied to service, professional and knowledge-intensive organizations such as hospitals.

Despite research on EBMgt is growing out of its former niche status and becoming a mainstream research interest, at least two limitations still puzzle our understanding whether and how EBMgt could inform performance improvement strategies in healthcare. First, past contributions mainly shared an enthusiastic, positive and naive view of EBMgt, overlooking potential shortcomings and limitations of data-driven approaches (as suggested by Holmes et al., 2006; Morrel and Learmonth, 2015). Second, past contributions focused more on the methods to evidence generation rather than to the use of this kind of evidence by policy-makers and hospital managers to improve performances. 

Research that explores how the various actors of the healthcare ecosystem are integrating and making sense of the different sources of evidence (e.g., administrative data, social media data, electronic health/medical records, patients’ diaries, Lab and genomic data, etc.) and to what extent they subordinate their judgment and experience to this evidence is still scant.

This Special Issue aims at collecting original, mature contributions to stimulate the debate about the role that EBMgt might play in healthcare for performance improvement, with respect – but not limited – to the following topics:

(i) What does actually mean Managing on the basis on Evidence in healthcare? Can we actually predict the likelihood of success/failure of management initiatives?
(ii) Will research on Big Data, Administrative Databases, etc., change radically decision-making and management as we know them today?
(iii) Is Evidence-based Management against management learning and innovation? Might creativity and entrepreneurship be limited by the progressive use of data-driven approaches?
(iv) How healthcare decision-makers at different levels make sense of and trust studies aimed at grounding Evidence-based Management?
(v) How performance can be measured in healthcare to facilitate the generation of evidence-based policies and strategies?
(vi) Which role does qualitative research play within an Evidence-based Management paradigm?
(vii) Will Evidence-based Management drive the development and diffusion of replication studies in Social Science?
(viii) Do experiments, simulations, process-mining techniques generate evidence that matters in healthcare?
(ix) Does an evidence-based approach to management and organization facilitate the still difficult dialogue among different professions in healthcare?
(x) Is Evidence-based Management actually “outrageously exclusionary and dangerously normative with regards to scientific knowledge” as claimed by Holmes et al. (2006)?
(xi) Should Evidence-based Management be mandatory included in the education programs for hospital managers?
(xii) How Collaborative Innovation Networks might contribute to improve performance of healthcare systems through evidence-based management approaches?

Expected contributions can deal with either methodological/theoretical issues or empirical investigations.


Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. Papers will undergo at least a double blind, developmental review as per the standard review process followed by Management Decision. Final acceptance of approved papers will be contingent on incorporating reviewers’ feedback to the satisfaction of the Guest Editors.
Please kindly read the author guidelines on the journal homepage before submitting your manuscript, to ensure it is consistent with the journal style

Submission to the special issue should be made through the ScholarOne online submission site here: - please make sure the correct Special Issue title is selected when submitting.

Important dates
Deadline for submission: 15/10/2017
Review deadline and notification to authors: 31/12/2017
Deadline for Revised Papers: 31/01/2018
Second Review deadline: 28/02/2018
Final Decision: 31/03/2018
Expected Publication: June 2018 

Guest Editors

Davide Aloini, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy, [email protected]
Lorella Cannavacciuolo, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy, [email protected]
Simone Gitto, University of Rome "Tor Vergata", Rome, Italy, [email protected]
Emanuele Lettieri, Polytechnic University of Milan, Milan, Italy, [email protected]
Paolo Malighetti, University of Bergamo, Bergamo, Italy, [email protected]
Filippo Visintin, University of Florence, Florence, Italy, [email protected]

Selected references

Arndt, M., & Bigelow, B. (2009). Evidence-based management in health care organizations: A cautionary note. Health Care Management Review, 34(3), 206-213.
Grosskopf, S., Margaritis, D., & Valdmanis, V. (2004). Competitive effects on teaching hospitals. European Journal of Operational Research, 154(2), 515-525.
Holmes, D., Murray, S., Perron, G., & Rail, G. 2006. Deconstructing the evidence-based discourses in health sciences: Truth, power and fascism. International Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare, 4, 180-186.
Kovner, A. R., Elton, J. J., Billings, J., & Short, J. H. (2000). Evidence-based management. Frontiers of Health Services Management, 16(4), 3.
Morrel, K., Learmonth, M. (2015) Against Evidence-Based Management for Management Learning. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 14(4), 520–533.
Pfeffer, J., & Sutton, R. I. (2006). Evidence-based management. Harvard business review, 84(1), 62.
Sackett, D. L., Rosenberg, W. M., Gray, J. M., Haynes, R. B., & Richardson, W. S. (1996). Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn't, British Medical Journal, 312(71)
Shortell, S. M., Rundall, T. G., & Hsu, J. (2007). Improving patient care by linking evidence-based medicine and evidence-based management. Jama, 298(6), 673-676
Walshe, K., & Rundall, T. G. (2001). Evidence‐based management: from theory to practice in health care. Milbank Quarterly, 79(3), 429-457.
Wan, T. T. (2006). Healthcare informatics research: from data to evidence-based management. Journal of Medical Systems, 30(1), 3-7.
Wright, A. L., Zammuto, R. F., Liesch, P. W., Middleton, S., Hibbert, P., Burke, J., & Brazil, V. (2016). Evidence‐based Management in Practice: Opening up the Decision Process, Decision‐maker and Context. British Journal of Management, 27(1), 161-178.