Identifying logistical parameters in hospitals: Does literature reflect integration in hospitals? A scoping study

Annelies van der Ham*, Henri Boersma, Arno van Raak, Dirk Ruwaard, Frits van Merode

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


In order to improve the quality and efficiency of hospitals, they can be viewed as a logistical system in which integration is a critical factor for performance. This paper describes the results of a scoping study that identifies the logistical parameters mentioned in international research on hospitals and indicates whether literature reflects system integration. When subsystems collaborate in order to accomplish the task of the entire organization, there is integration. A total number of 106 logistical parameters are identified in our study. In addition, the flow type - patients, materials and staff - and hospital subsystems were registered. The results presented in international literature show that logistics is highly fragmented in hospitals. Studies also show integration, although this takes place mainly within the subsystems of hospitals. A multi-agent perspective on hospitals is proposed, following the view that both integration and differentiation are essential for effective organizational performance. Given the widely recognised importance of controlling hospital costs and the potential of logistics to help in this process, it is important to gain more knowledge of hospitals as network organizations, as well as knowledge regarding the degree of integration and the logistical parameters that are required for better hospital performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-165
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Services Management Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • hospital
  • integration
  • logistics
  • scoping study
  • supply chain management


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