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School of Business | Department of Management Studies | MSc Degree Programme in Strategy | 2016
Thesis number: 14712
Modularizing health services: capabilities and applicability - a comparative study of two specialties in a Finnish university hospital
Author: Silander, Katariina
Title: Modularizing health services: capabilities and applicability - a comparative study of two specialties in a Finnish university hospital
Year: 2016  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management Studies
Academic subject: MSc Degree Programme in Strategy
Index terms: terveystalous; palvelut; prosessit
Pages: 98
Key terms: services, health care, modularity, mass customization
Abstract:
The objective of this thesis is to analyze the relation of standardization and customization and the capabilities related to health service modularization. This study aims to 1) identify key elements of service production and delivery that are essential to modularization of health services and 2) to conceptualize in which areas of health care modularization is applicable.

A literature review of current health care modularity literature was conducted to develop a thorough understanding of current knowledge related to health care modularity capabilities. These findings were used to develop a preliminary framework of capabilities in health care modularization. Additionally a comparative qualitative case study of two specialties in a Finnish university hospital was conducted: the other modularized suborganization acting as the positive case, and the other one as the non-modularized negative case. The case study was conducted to further understand the required capabilities of health care modularization and to identify challenges related to modularization and consisted of 16 semi-structured interviews, document analysis and field visits.

The findings of both the literature review and case study were used to develop a framework related to the capabilities needed in health care modularization. The main findings of the literature review and case study were the following: ownership, clear planning, execution and scheduling rules, communication rules, and task division are crucial in modularizing a health service production. Additionally challenges related to modularization were identified: traditional hierarchies, loss of ownership, loss of informal communication, and the challenge of carrying out R&D in between standard services, may impede and challenge modularity.

Finally, the findings were used to conceptualize the applicability of modularity and mass customization to health care and a typology positioning the application of these operational models was created. The typology demonstrates how mass customization and modularity may have potential in developing a large proportion of health services.

This study has its limitations. First, I may not have identified all current health care modularity studies and thus may not have identified all known capabilities related to health care modularization. Second, the case study was conducted in a Finnish university hospital carrying out highly specialize care. Thus, more empirical research is needed to validate the findings of this thesis related to the capabilities and challenges of modularization and the applicability of mass customization and modularization in health care. Additionally more empirical research is needed to gain deeper insight of the outcomes of modularization
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.