• case study;
  • client-centred care;
  • framework;
  • front/back office;
  • nursing;
  • objectives;
  • organizations


Title. Improving client-centred care and services: the role of front/back-officeconfigurations.

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.