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Opportunities and Limitations with E-health and Lean Thinking at a Rheumatology Clinic
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Organization and management.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Healthcare is facing major challenges in terms of an aging population and increased amount of people with chronic diseases, which constitutes a large portion of healthcare costs. Lean thinking is widely used and adopted in several organizations and not the least within healthcare, and at the same time, e-health, standing for IT-related health services, is an emerging field with great opportunities. This master thesis is written at Karolinska Institute (KI), constitutes a case study at a Rheumatology Clinic at Sweden’s biggest hospital, Karolinska University Hospital (KS), and investigates opportunities and limitations with e-health efforts analysed from a lean thinking perspective. The project started with a literature study in the field of e-health, lean thinking, and patient involvement, and was followed by an exploratory study where six interviews were conducted with people engaged at different levels within e-health and development projects. Subsequently statistics from a quality registry was collected and ten semi-structured interviews with six patients and four physicians were conducted.

It was found that telemedicine and patient engagement are great opportunities which can increase both patient and physician experiential values, while also operational values and freed resources can be won, even though it is coupled with inequality, control, as well as legislative issues. It was seen that the secure e-mail function is linked to nurse intermediaries that make the service less valuable from a patient perspective and can lead to insecure e-mailing with coupled complications.

Services linked to quality registries can be valuable for several parties including research, even though the direct patient value has been vague, and it is a balancing act between personalization and standardization. Furthermore, as it is seen that research can play a central role in e-health development, this should be a factor to add in future actor networks. In conclusion, lean thinking was used to analyse e-health efforts at a Swedish Rheumatology Clinic, and it was shown that e-health services have great opportunities when facing upcoming healthcare challenges, even though there are obstacles that are not easy to overcome due to the high complexity of the system.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 61 p.
Keyword [en]
E-health, lean thinking, patient involvement, patient engagement, rheumatology, limitations, opportunities, case study
National Category
Economics and Business
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-154561OAI: diva2:757747
Available from: 2014-10-23 Created: 2014-10-23 Last updated: 2014-10-23Bibliographically approved

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