Co‐creation and learning in health‐care service development

Mattias Elg (Quality Technology and Management, HELIX VINN Excellence Centre, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden)
Jon Engström (Department of Quality Technology and Management, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden)
Lars Witell (Quality Technology and Management, CTF – Service Research Center, Linköping University and Karlstad University, Linköping, Sweden)
Bozena Poksinska (Quality Technology and Management, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden)

Journal of Service Management

ISSN: 1757-5818

Publication date: 22 June 2012



The purpose of this study is to develop and evaluate a model for patient co‐creation and learning based on diaries for use in health‐care service development. In particular, the study aims to investigate the process of patient co‐creation and different mechanisms through which health‐care service providers can learn from the patient.


The study is based on an action research approach. First, a development phase for patient co‐creation and learning leading to a proposed model was conducted. Second, a test phase of the diary‐based method was performed on 53 patients in three cases: orthopaedic care, rehabilitation care and gastroenterology care.


The study suggests a model for co‐creation and learning in health‐care service development through three learning methods. First, the model may be used as a means for generating and collecting patient ideas; second, a single patient's story can be illustrated and can serve as incentive for health‐care service development and creation of patient‐centred care; finally, a larger number of diaries can be analysed and combined with patient surveys to provide a deeper understanding of how the patient experiences health care services.


This study extends the research on diary‐based methods as an operationalisation of co‐creation in two ways. First, the study offers new and more diverse ways of using the rich material provided by customer diaries in the development of services. Second, the study suggests a co‐creation approach of involving patients in health‐care service development through patient diaries.



Elg, M., Engström, J., Witell, L. and Poksinska, B. (2012), "Co‐creation and learning in health‐care service development", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 328-343.

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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