Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2008 (Revised October 2010)

Patient Flow at Brigham and Women's Hospital (A)

by Anita L. Tucker and Jillian Alexandra Berry


Brigham and Women's Hospital challenged a team of physicians to improve patient flow from the Emergency Department to Intensive Care Units (ICUs). One of the team members, Selwyn Rogers, Director of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) at Brigham and Women's Hospital, encountered workarounds by two physicians attempting to transfer their patients to the SICU because the other ICUs were full. Reflecting on the wasted effort and confusion caused by the workarounds, Rogers sent an email outlining the situation to the team. His email generated a negative backlash and chain of defensive emails from involved staff who felt criticized.

Keywords: Change Management; Health Care and Treatment; Service Operations; Business Processes; Performance Productivity; Conflict and Resolution; Health Industry; Massachusetts;


Tucker, Anita L., and Jillian Alexandra Berry. "Patient Flow at Brigham and Women's Hospital (A)." Harvard Business School Case 608-171, June 2008. (Revised October 2010.)