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Transforming patients to consumers: evaluating national healthcare portals

Agneta Ranerup (Department of Applied IT, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 1 June 2010




One prominent translation of patient‐centred care is public sector consumerism by which patients may influence the services provided by acting like consumers. The focus of this study is the extent to which technological devices in national public healthcare portals in the UK and three Nordic countries transform patients so that they can act as healthcare consumers.


The paper applies a comparative case study methodology.


As national healthcare portals, Norway's technological devices, to some extent, and the devices in the UK and Denmark, to a greater extent, equip patients to act as consumers. At present, Sweden's technological devices are much more limited. In Denmark and the UK, these devices that use quality indicators are in the forefront in the development of national healthcare portals.


A theoretical framework is applied that emphasizes the role of technological devices in the construction of calculating consumers as described by Michel Callon. This perspective, which promotes patient‐centred care, enhances the understanding of fundamental design issues related to the role of technology as the individual forms his/her relationship with healthcare systems.



Ranerup, A. (2010), "Transforming patients to consumers: evaluating national healthcare portals", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 331-339.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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