Five focus strategies to organize health care delivery

Antti Peltokorpi*, Miika Linna, Tomi Malmström, Paulus Torkki, Paul Martin Lillrank

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose – The focused factory is one of the concepts that decision-makers have adopted for improving health care delivery. However, disorganized definitions of focus have led to findings that cannot be utilized systematically. The purpose of this paper is to discuss strategic options to focus health care operations. Design/methodology/approach – First the literature on focus in health care is reviewed revealing conceptual challenges. Second, a definition of focus in terms of demand and requisite variety is defined, and the mechanisms of focus are explicated. A classification of five focus strategies that follow the original idea to reduce variety in products and markets is presented. Finally, the paper examines managerial possibilities linked to the focus strategies. Findings – The paper proposes a framework of five customer-oriented focus strategies which aim at reducing variety in different characteristics of care pathways: population; urgency and severity; illnesses and symptoms; care practices and processes; and care outcomes. Research limitations/implications – Empirical research is needed to evaluate the costs and benefits of the five strategies and about system-level effects of focused units on competition and coordination. Practical implications – Focus is an enabling condition that needs to be exploited using specific demand and supply management practices. It is essential to understand how focus mechanisms differ between strategies, and to select focus that fits with organization’s strategy and key performance indicators. Originality/value – Compared to previous more resource-oriented approaches, this study provides theoretically solid and practically relevant customer-oriented framework for focusing in health care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-191
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Demand management
  • Focused factory
  • Health care delivery
  • Production strategy
  • Service delivery
  • Supply management

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