Humanly Efficient Hospital - a long-term research and development programme


Humanly Efficient Hospital is a joint long-term research and development programme of Lapland Hospital District and the University of Lapland. The first stage was conducted in 2009-2011. The objective of the programme is to find new, improved ways to work in the hospital environment.


The healthcare system in Finland has for long been facing demands for increased efficiency. Municipalities’ financial standings have deteriorated and, consequently, their abilities to finance specialized medical care have grown weaker. Moreover, the healthcare professionals’s perceptions regarding appropriate care, the challenges of the rapidly developing treatment options and patients’ own expectations together form a complicated equation. Achieving real changes in the hospital organisation has been difficult as the easiness of resorting to the familiar ways of working impedes the implementation of new operations models.


The objective of the research and development programme is to create a hospital which is humane both for the personnel and for the patients, while at the same time utilisizing the personnel’s know-how, insights and participation to make it efficient and productive. An important aspect is the personnel’s experience of their work as meaningful and satisfying.

The programme aims to strengthen the operation of the hospital’s diversified working environment, as well as to improve information management and enhance the personnel’s sense of meaningfulness in their work. The programme seeks to create a solid, practical operating model for managing information streams, competencies, and the general sense of work meaningfulness in the hospital organisation.


The means used in the pursuit of a humanly efficient hospital include managing information streams; processing information to support the operation of the work community; and organizing work in a meaningful way by cutting down overlapping work tasks. It is also important to coordinate different competencies, understand and manage differences, utilize experiences and the organization’s social capital, and ensure the proper functioning of internal communication.

The programme is carried out as a direct dialogue between research and development. The objective is to use research findings to improve the operation of the work community – that is, to transform research findings into tangible action. The programme consists of several smaller components and practical measures, examples of which include the award-winning practice of directors’ setting time to visit units regularly in order to listen to the concerns of the personnel informally over a coffee; personnel's autonomy concerning working hours, etc.

The programme is divided into different stages. The first stage, completed in 2012, concentrated on finding out what makes hospital personnel experience their work as meaningful.The findings were published in a research report.

In the second stage, attention is focused on the role of leadership and management. It consists of three separate projects, one of which is the Improvement Leaders Capability Programme, initiated in 2012 in cooperation with Derbyshire Health Community Services.

The whole hospital personnel is encouraged to take part

In the implementation of the programme a central role is played by the whole hospital personnel and cooperation partners, whose opinions and insights contribute to shaping the programme and making it concrete. The baseline is to cooperate in developing the working place, with ”bottom-up” development as the primary means, allowing the personnel to participate in identifying development needs and in creating the future state together with the researchers. The core of a humanly efficient hospital is simply doing things in a smarter way in a good working environment.