Personalized care with mass production efficiency: integrating care with a virtual care operator

Paul Lillrank, Fares Georges Khalil*, Annika Bengts, An Chen, Perttu Kontunen, Satu Kaleva, Paulus Torkki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Purpose: This article aims to describe the thinking behind MASSE, a project in Finland that helps address the fragmentation of care and patient journey disruptions for long-term care. It outlines the conceptualization of an information technology (IT)-assisted solution and presents preliminary findings and research problems in this ongoing project. Design/methodology/approach: The project employs a service engineering and design science approach with the objective of addressing chronic and multimorbid patients in specialized multiprovider environments. It does this by applying information and communication technologies and organizational design. The project has been a cocreative effort with ongoing interviews and workshops with various stakeholders to inform the conceptualization of a solution, an intermediary step before the implementation phase. Findings: Patient journey disruptions occur when caregivers do not know what to do in specific situations. A potential solution is a virtual care operator (VCO) with a personalized patient card that would enable service ecosystem actors to integrate and coordinate their tasks. This article presents the basic design principles of such a solution. Research limitations/implications: Conceptual ideas and preliminary results only indicative. Practical implications: Systemic integration efforts like those ongoing in Finland can benefit from the VCO concept encouraging a more collaborative way of thinking about integrative solutions and opening up new avenues of research on business implications and ecosystem strategies. Social implications: The VCO concept answers to the continuity of care, the rising costs of health care and the growing numbers of patients with chronic disease and multimorbidity whose care remains fragmented and uncoordinated. Originality/value: Taking an ecosystem approach to care integration and addressing interoperability issues are on the cutting edge of healthcare system transformation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-295
Number of pages14
JournalJOURNAL OF INTEGRATED CARE
Volume30
Issue number4
Early online date18 Aug 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Care integration and coordination
  • Chronic condition patients
  • Clinical pathway
  • Fragmentation of care
  • Multimorbid patients
  • Patient information systems
  • Patient journey
  • Service engineering

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