Implementing the value-based healthcare concept (VBHC) is a growing management trend in Swedish healthcare organizations. The aim of this study is to explore how representatives of four pilot project teams experienced implementing VBHC in a large Swedish University Hospital over a period of 2 years. The project teams started their work in October 2013.
An explorative and qualitative design was used, with interviews as the data collection method. All the participants in the four pilot project teams were individually interviewed three times, with interviews starting in March 2014 and ending in November 2015. All the interviews were transcribed and analyzed using qualitative analysis.
Value for the patients was experienced as the fundamental drive for implementing VBHC. However, multiple understandings of what value for patients' means existed in parallel. The teams received guidance from consultants during the first 3 months. There were pros and cons to the consultant's guidance. This period included intensive work identifying outcome measurements based on patients' and professionals' perspectives, with less interest devoted to measuring costs. The implementation process, which both gave and took energy, developed over time and included interventions. In due course it provided insights to the teams about the complexity of healthcare. The necessity of coordination, cooperation and working together inter-departmentally was critical.
Healthcare organizations implementing VBHC will benefit from emphasizing value for patients, in line with the intrinsic drive in healthcare, as well as managing the process of implementation on the basis of understanding the complexities of healthcare. Paying attention to the patients' voice is a most important concern and is also a key towards increased engagement from physicians and care providers for improvement work.