Logistics- and quality management in health

doctors in the operation room
Thor Balkhed

The healthcare sector is an engine in the economy and of vital importance for the wealth. Many of the social challenges that the world faces today are associated with healthcare.

The Swedish healthcare system produces high quality healthcare for a reasonable cost, but like other western industrialised countries it has at least three oncoming challenges: demographic changes with ageing society, impact and utilisation of fast medical and technological advances and changing citizen’s expectations to being an active, confident and well-informed healthcare co-actor. At the same time the financial resources allocated to healthcare are not expected to increase. A general opinion is that healthcare needs to improve quality without escalating costs. 

Improving quality of health and care services

In light of the current challenges described above, health and care services require development of approaches and methods for coordination and quality improvement. This includes new forms of system approaches and methods that support process-based organisation within health care departments as well as between clinics, between various public health and caregiving organisations.

One example is transfer and adoption of industry based improvement approaches such as Lean production and integrated supply chain management. Another example is redefining the patient’s role from being a passive recipient to a more autonomous, active, collaborative participant in health care delivery and development. These changing conditions challenge knowledge and learning in work, and have implications for the continuing development and training of health professionals. A crucial feature of contemporary health care work is increasing complexity, and the notion that skilled workers must be adept at responding to unforeseen changes.

Our research focuses primarily on: 

  • How to improve patient flows and caregiver workflows to achieve more patient-centred  and efficient care?
  • Why do improvement programs in healthcare often not meet the expected results and fall short of sustainability in the long run?
  • How to develop forms of co-creation and collaboration in public sector organizations that lead to successful outcomes?
  • How to design and utilize performance measurement as a means for driving healthcare improvements?
  • What are the key features of systems approaches and logistics in healthcare?


Ongoing research projects