Brian Hilligoss, PhD

Assistant Professor
Health Services Management and Policy

Phone: 614-247-6364

1841 Neil Ave.
224 Cunz Hall
Columbus, OH, 43210


I study coordination across organizational, professional, and temporal boundaries in health care organizations and systems. Specifically, I have studied intra-organizational coordination in the form of such crucial routines as patient handoffs between clinicians, and inter-organizational coordination as implemented through accountable care organizations (ACOs), aimed at improving the value of care and the health of defined populations. Given the highly fragmented nature of the US health care system, gaining deeper insight into coordination is necessary for improving the safety, quality, and efficiency of health care. My research aims to systematically analyze and richly illustrate how organizational structures, processes, and practices promote or inhibit effective coordination and to identify promising ways to better integrate the work of health care. I specialize in qualitative methods, both interviewing and ethnographic field observations, in order to ground my work in a fundamental understanding of the micro-foundations of health care organizational phenomena. 
Research Statement

Research Interests

Coordination, handoffs & transitions of care
Patient safety & high-reliability
Accountable care organizations & population health management
Organizational routines, learning & change
Qualitative and ethnographic methods


PhD, Information, University of Michigan
Master of Science in Information Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Bachelor of Creative Arts, Theatre, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Graduate Teacher Certificate, University of Michigan, Center for Research on Learning and Teaching


Health Services Organizational Management (HSMP 7615)
Quality & Patient Safety (HSMP 7679)
Health Services Leadership & Organizational Change (HSMP 7617)
Doctoral Seminar in Engaged Scholarship for Research Design (HSMP 8899)
Health Care Organization I (HSMP 800)

Awards and Honors

Academy of Management, Health Care Management Division, Outstanding Reviewer, 2016, 2015, 2014
Academy of Management, Health Care Management Division, Best Theory to Practice Paper, 2015
Academy of Management, Health Care Management Division, Outstanding Paper Based on a Dissertation, 2013
Health Services Research Dissertation Award, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2010
ProQuest Dissertation Writing Award, 2010

Selected Publications

Hilligoss, B., Song, P.H., & McAlearney, A.S. (2016). Aligning for Accountable Care: Strategic Practices for Change in Accountable Care Organizations. Health Care Management Review, (forthcoming).

Hefner, J.L., Hilligoss, B., Knupp, A., Bournique, J., Sullivan, J., & Moffatt-Bruce, S.D. (2016). Cultural Transformation after Implementation of Crew Resource Management: Is it really possible? The American Journal of Medical Quality, In press.

Hilligoss, B., Song, P.H., & McAlearney, A.S. (2016). Coordination mechanisms in four accountable care organizations: Insights from qualitative case studies. International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior, 19(2), 207-232.

Vogus, T.J., & Hilligoss, B. (2015). The underappreciated role of habit in highly reliable healthcare. BMJ Quality & Safety, 25(3), 141-146.

Hilligoss, B., Mansfield, J., Patterson, E., & Moffatt-Bruce, S. (2015). Collaborating—or “selling” patients? A conceptual framework for emergency department-to-inpatient handoff negotiations. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, 41(3), 134-143.

Hilligoss, B. & Vogus, T.J. (2015). Navigating care transitions: A process model of how doctors overcome organizational barriers and create awareness. Medical Care Research and Review, 72(1) 25–48.

Hilligoss, B., & Moffatt-Bruce, S.D. (2014). The limits of checklists: Handoff and narrative thinking. BMJ Quality & Safety, 23(7) 528-533.

Hilligoss, B. (2014). Selling patients and other metaphors: A discourse analysis of the interpretive frames that shape emergency department admission handoffs. Social Science and Medicine. 102. 119-­‐128.

Hilligoss, B., Zheng, K. (2013). Chart biopsy: An emerging medical practice enabled by electronic health records and its impacts on emergency department–inpatient admission handoffs. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 20(2) 260-267.

Hilligoss, B., & Cohen, M. D. (2013). The unappreciated challenges of between-unit handoffs: Negotiating and coordinating across boundaries. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 61(2) 155-160.

Cohen, M. D., Hilligoss, B., & Amaral, A. C. K. (2012). Handoff is not a telegram: Understanding of the patient is co-constructed. Critical Care, 16(1), 303-309.

Hilligoss, B., & Cohen, M. D. (2011). Hospital handoffs as multifunctional situated routines: Implications for researchers and administrators. Advances in Health Care Management, 11, 91-132.

Cohen, M. D., & Hilligoss, P. B. (2009). The published literature on handoffs in hospitals: Deficiencies identified in an extensive review. Quality & Safety in Health Care, 19(6) 493-497.

Green Buckeye Certified CEPH CAHME