Purpose: Delivering comprehensive patient portals in fragmented delivery systems depends on coordination among a network of healthcare organizations. Inter-organizational coordination is fraught with challenges, mainly due to a lack of organizational, technological, and geographical proximity between network participants. This paper assesses the extent to which application of Relational Coordination Theory (RCT) can ameliorate these challenges. Approach: We conducted a conceptual analysis of the usefulness of RCT and the applicability of the Relational Model of Organizational Change to patient portal networks. Findings: Relational coordination can mitigate challenges caused by lack of organizational and technological proximity among participants in a patient portal network. The Relational Model of Organizational Change is useful to improve relational coordination. However, some organization redesign interventions proposed in the Model may not be directly applicable to patient portal networks due to lack of geographical proximity among network participants. Conclusion: We suggest three propositions regarding the relationships among relational coordination, organizational and technological proximity, and cost of coordination in an inter-organizational portal network. If future research provides empirical support for these propositions and identifies appropriate adaptations of the Relational Model of Organizational Change for inter-organizational contexts, portal network leaders should strive to strengthen relational coordination in their networks.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Health information technology, Healthcare management, Inter-organizational collaboration, Patient portals, Relational coordination
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1080/20479700.2015.1101911, hdl.handle.net/1765/94946
Journal International Journal of Healthcare Management
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Citation
Otte-Trojel, E.T, Rundall, T.G, de Bont, A.A, & van de Klundert, J.J. (2017). Can relational coordination help inter-organizational networks overcome challenges to coordination in patient portals?. International Journal of Healthcare Management, 1–9. doi:10.1080/20479700.2015.1101911