The DESIGN-EM research project is expanding


A new PhD position, an associated postdoc, and partnerships with the health sector scale up the research on the organization design of the Danish emergency medicine care system.

2014.06.26 | Pernille Kallehave

Danish emergency care is undergoing the largest reorganization in decades. Finding the right organizational design for the emergency departments poses a major challenge for all parties involved and calls for research-based knowledge and data. DESIGN-EM, a cross-disciplinary research network, was established in 2013 to develop evidence-based guidelines for designing effective and efficient emergency departments. The founding partners are Research Center for Emergency Medicine (Center for Akutforskning), Aarhus University Hospital and Interdisciplinary Center for Organizational Architecture (ICOA), Aarhus University.

The deep relevance of this initiative is now stressed by research partnership with all five Danish regions and a number of hospitals. The research projects focus on issues as quality of patient care, incentives and tools to design the organization of emergency departments. 

PhD on the Weekend effect

These research projects are now being scaled up. Iben Duvald, Cand.scient. in anthropology, has just been granted a PhD position by Aarhus University.

Iben will do her PhD on The weekend effect—an organizational and cultural issue?

Previous studies of the weekend effect have shown that patients admitted to hospitals on a weekend do worse than those admitted on a weekday. Why these variations occur remains unclear. While existing studies tend to focus on identifying variation, Iben is interested in explaining variation, using ethnographic methods. Theoretically, she will combine organizational theories and cultural analyses to explore whether differences in organizational design and culture can explain the weekend effect in an emergency department.

Professor Børge Obel will be the main supervisor and Iben will be part of ICOA.

New research project on incentives

ICOA is now also starting up a new project at Odense University Hospital on incentives. Elena Shulzhenko, at present a research assistant at AU Herning and a PhD student at Free University of Berlin will conduct the research at AU Herning as a postdoc and will become a member of the DESIGN-EM and ICOA team.

Read more:


Iben Duvald

Elena Shulzhenko