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Finnish experts' perceptions of digital healthcare forms in 2035 and the anticipated healthcare workforce impacts: a Delphi study

Liisa Lee (Research Unit of Health Sciences and Technology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland)
Mira Hammarén (Research Unit of Health Sciences and Technology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland)
Outi Kanste (Research Unit of Health Sciences and Technology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland) (Medical Research Center, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland)

Journal of Health Organization and Management

ISSN: 1477-7266

Article publication date: 20 February 2024

Issue publication date: 18 April 2024

108

Abstract

Purpose

To explore Finnish experts' perceptions of the forms of digital healthcare that are anticipated to be the most utilised in healthcare in the medium-term future (year 2035) and anticipated healthcare workforce impacts those forms will have.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 17 experts representing relevant interest groups participated in a biphasic online Delphi study. The results for each round were analysed using descriptive statistical methods and inductive content analysis.

Findings

The forms of digital healthcare that the experts perceived as most likely to be utilised were those enabling patient participation, efficient organisation of services and automated data collection and analysis. The main impacts on the healthcare workforce were seen as being the redirection of workforce needs within the healthcare sector and need for new skills and new professions. The decrease in the need for a healthcare workforce was seen as less likely. The impacts were perceived as being constructed through three means: impacts within healthcare organisations, impacts on healthcare professions and impacts via patients.

Research limitations/implications

The results are not necessarily transferable to other contexts because the experts anticipated local futures. Patients' views were also excluded from the study.

Originality/value

Healthcare organisations function in complex systems where drivers, such as regional demographics, legislation and financial constraints, dictate how digital healthcare is utilised. Anticipating the workforce effects of digital healthcare utilisation has received limited attention; the study adds to this discussion.

Keywords

Citation

Lee, L., Hammarén, M. and Kanste, O. (2024), "Finnish experts' perceptions of digital healthcare forms in 2035 and the anticipated healthcare workforce impacts: a Delphi study", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 38 No. 2, pp. 192-208. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHOM-02-2023-0044

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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