Healthcare systems reform through activity focus
Övrigt konferensbidrag, 2018

Healthcare systems reform through activity focus


Peter Almström


Department of Technology Management and Economics

Chalmers University of Technology

Gothenburg, Sweden



Abstract (Intended for oral presentation)




Healthcare systems and particularly the large hospitals need reformation, but there is obviously a lack of good ideas. The professions, the unions as well as the politicians seems to believe that the only solution is to employ more staff. We have seen the effect of that solution: the capacity has increased a little while the cost has increased a lot, i.e. productivity has decreased.

The management philosophies borrowed from other fields have largely failed to deliver the promised improvements. One important reason for this, which hasn’t been highlighted in the science literature, is that the fundamental building blocks for designing and improving the systems are not in place. These building blocks are the activities performed by people at the floor level.



The aim of this presentation is to conceptually explain the fundamental prerequisites to achieve a reform of the operations at large hospitals by focusing on activities, especially those activities that doesn’t involve patients.


Material and methods

The conceptual conclusions in this presentation are based on several empirical studies at large hospitals in Sweden using work study and design science methods. The basic concepts are taken from operation management theory developed in other areas of business.



Results from several studies are presented in brief, both to illustrate the improvements potentials and to illustrate promising solutions.



To focus on activities, which they are and how they are performed, is central for any operational improvement. It has been found that it is essential to differentiate between different types of activities and the most important distinction is to separate “handicraft activities” from “series production activities”.


Peter Almström

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Supply and Operations Management

12th NOVO Network symposium
Helsinki, Finland,


Produktionsteknik, arbetsvetenskap och ergonomi

Hälso- och sjukvårdsorganisation, hälsopolitik och hälsoekonomi



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