Poor access to healthcare and increasing demand for services represent a management dilemma how to balance between needs and costs. Scrutinising the concept of demand management and using a case study from Finnish primary care, the purpose of this paper is to examine the complexities of managing demand for health services.
Convenience has explained the popularity of walk-in clinics (WIC), making it an attractive demand management tool. By analysing the quantitative service utilisation data of frequent attenders at WIC, the paper exemplifies what enhanced access to care means for demand management of public welfare services.
High user rates and satisfaction indicate demand for this type of service; however, the establishment of WIC provided supplementary care for the high users of health services, most suffering chronic diseases.
Better understanding of the structure of service demand is needed in order to develop a more coordinated service system and to manage demand for public welfare services.
The study demonstrates the importance of identifying service utilisation patterns in managing demand. Instead of single solutions, a wider system-level perspective is essential.
Managing demand and facilitating access are core primary care attributes but there is little evidence about the impact of demand management strategies. The paper ties together important healthcare management issues: how to control demand and improve the access? Moreover, few studies have examined the frequent attendance at WIC. This paper presents a practical illustration of demand management tool and indicates some demand management problems to be considered in healthcare management.
This research was partially supported by the town of Ylöjärvi. The authors wish to thank local professionals for support and assistance with data collection. The authors also acknowledge participants of the demand management thematic session in European Health Management Annual Conference 2013.
Kork, A.-A. and Vakkuri, J. (2016), "Improving access and managing healthcare demand with walk-in clinic: Convenient, but at what cost?", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 148-163. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPSM-07-2015-0137Download as .RIS
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