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Strategies to facilitate implementation and sustainability of large system transformations: a case study of a national program for improving quality of care for elderly people
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health. Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Medical Management Centre, Karolinska Institutet, SE 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2281-4622
Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Medical Management Centre, Karolinska Institutet, SE 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.
Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Medical Management Centre, Karolinska Institutet, SE 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.
Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Medical Management Centre, Karolinska Institutet, SE 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden and Centre for Epidemiology and community medicine, Stockholm county council, SE 171 29 Stockholm, Sweden.
2014 (English)In: BMC Health Services Research, ISSN 1472-6963, E-ISSN 1472-6963, Vol. 14, 401Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Large-scale change initiatives stimulating change in several organizational systems in the health and social care sector are challenging both to lead and evaluate. There is a lack of systematic research that can enrich our understanding of strategies to facilitate large system transformations in this sector. The purpose of this study was to examine the characteristics of core activities and strategies to facilitate implementation and change of a national program aimed at improving life for the most ill elderly people in Sweden. The program outcomes were also addressed to assess the impact of these strategies.

METHODS: A longitudinal case study design with multiple data collection methods was applied. Archival data (n = 795), interviews with key stakeholders (n = 11) and non-participant observations (n = 23) were analysed using content analysis. Outcome data was obtained from national quality registries.

RESULTS: This study presents an approach for implementing a large national change program that is characterized by initial flexibility and dynamism regarding content and facilitation strategies and a growing complexity over time requiring more structure and coordination. The description of activities and strategies show that the program management team engaged a variety of stakeholders and actor groups and accordingly used a palate of different strategies. The main strategies used to influence change in the target organisations were to use regional improvement coaches, regional strategic management teams, national quality registries, financial incentives and annually revised agreements. Interactive learning sessions, intense communication, monitor and measurements, and active involvement of different experts and stakeholders, including elderly people, complemented these strategies. Program outcomes showed steady progress in most of the five target areas, less so for the target of achieving coordinated care.

CONCLUSIONS: There is no blue-print on how to approach the challenging task of leading large scale change programs in complex contexts, but our conclusion is that more attention has to be given to the multidimensional strategies that program management need to consider. This multidimensionality comprises different strategies depending on types of actors, system levels, contextual factors, program progress over time, program content, types of learning and change processes, and the conditions for sustainability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BioMed Central, 2014. Vol. 14, 401
National Category
Learning Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-94708DOI: 10.1186/1472-6963-14-401ISI: 000342099700001PubMedID: 25230774OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-94708DiVA: diva2:755757
Available from: 2014-10-15 Created: 2014-10-15 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved

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