Why industrial methods do not work in healthcare: an analytical approach

L. Cozijnsen*, M. Levi, M.J. Verkerk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Web of Science)


Healthcare professionals and managers in hospitals are frequently suggested to learn from industry and business to improve quality and efficiency. However, evidence that the implementation of industrial techniques and business methods has a meaningful effect on patient outcomes is often lacking. An explanation for this phenomenon is thought to be the complexity of the hospital organisation and the diversity of patients. In this article, we use the practice approach to discuss the application of industrial techniques and business methods in healthcare. We employ a practice model that offers three perspectives to understand professional practices: Identity and intrinsic values, Interests of stakeholders, and Ideals and basic beliefs (Triple I). This model demonstrates that the nature of healthcare practices differs strongly from the nature of industrial and business practices. Healthcare has a moral nature that does not let itself be easily organised along technological or business categories. This may provide a fundamental explanation of why industrial techniques and business methods in general will be less successful in healthcare. At the same time, this model invites hospitals to develop innovative approaches that do justice to the identity and intrinsic values of healthcare. In this process, insights from industry and business cannot be copied but have to be used as sources of inspiration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-253
Number of pages4
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • caring for
  • efficiency
  • healthcare value
  • lean
  • lessons
  • surgery

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