The human dimension of modular care provision: Opportunities for personalization and customization

Carolien de Blok, Bert Meijboom*, Katrien Luijkx, Jos Schols

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Various behavioral issues are at stake in the health care sector, for example, the current strong plea for more demand-based care provision as opposed to traditional supply-driven approaches. Healthcare organizations are increasingly in need of systems and approaches that allow them to be more responsive to the needs and desires of their clients. To cope with heterogeneous and multiple demands, the application of modularity is increasingly proposed in care and services. In this paper the purpose is to study how interpersonal behavior responsive to client needs and values can be accommodated in modular care provision. Drawing on relevant literature from various service-related disciplines, we develop insight into how customization and personalization are simultaneously practiced by means of case research in the context of long-term care for elder people. Our empirics indicate that in care for elder people, personalization complements customization in adapting supply to demand. Customization is used to better match the needs of an individual customer in terms of the content of the service. Personalization is also used for this purpose, however, by adapting the way in which the service is provided. Moreover, the practice of personalization effectuates customization over time. The paper shows the importance of human behavior in the application of modularity in long term care for elder people. Approaching the issue of adaptation through the lens of modularity offers care providers insight into how customization and personalization are related. These insights can be used for the design of care delivery systems that enable comprehensive adaptation of supply to heterogeneous customer demands over time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-26
JournalInternational Journal of Production Economics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • Personalization
  • Customization
  • Modularity
  • Health care


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