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Value creation in health care services – developing service productivity: Experiences from Sweden

Lars Nordgren (Department of Service Management, Lund University, Helsingborg, Sweden)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 27 February 2009




The “old” concept of productivity seems to be misleading in health care, because it does not involve the contribution of the patient in value creation. The purpose of this paper will therefore be to explore possibilities for developing service productivity in theory and practice.


The analysis is based on a discursive reading of authoritative texts, an understanding of how health care work is organised and of several examples illustrating value creation. A proposed theoretical frame draws on “value creation”, “match matching” and “agency”. Empirical material is used, as are an analysis of a service meeting in health care, official texts in a Swedish context and narratives written by “users” and professionals.


The concept of service productivity in the context of health care encompasses values such as experienced health, quality of life, accessibility, trust, communication, avoidable suffering and avoidable deaths, and not only reduced costs, activities and outcomes.

Research limitation/implications

There is a need for more research concerning matchmaking and support of the customer. An overall aim for the providers should be to match the value creation process of the customer (patient).


This is a conceptual paper concerning value creation and service productivity in health care.



Nordgren, L. (2009), "Value creation in health care services – developing service productivity: Experiences from Sweden", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 114-127.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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