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Sustainable digital transformation processes in public sector healthcare

Research project The purpose of this project is to study how digital transformation processes are managed by key-actors who are responsible for the progression of these processes. It is also the purpose of this project to study these change processes through the perspective of sustainability, specifically in relation to the social and ecological dimensions.

Digitalization is expected to generate a cost-effective health care system and the government has therefore proposed a digital strategy. The purpose of this project is to study how key-actors pursue organizational change through investments in digital technologies and thus enable digital transformation processes within the health care organization. A second purpose is to acknowledge the challenges that might obstruct these transformation efforts and identify fruitful conditions that creates continuous progress without compromising with the goals in the 2030 agenda.

Head of project

Sara Bomark
Doctoral student

Project overview

Project period:

2020-09-01 2024-08-31

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Informatics

Research area


Project description

Digital transformation is a cross-cutting organizational change process which is enabled by digital technologies and driven by strategy (Vial, 2019). Digital transformation is a prerequisite for organizations to survive in an environment of wide-spread use of digital technologies and increased digitalization across different industries. The public sector is not an exception from these changes.

In response to these developments, the Swedish government has deployed a number of different strategies to enhance and advance the digital infrastructure in society. For example, the investments in a nationwide broadband reaching at least 95% of the households by 2020. However, the responsibility of creating digital transformation in the healthcare system is assigned and distributed amongst the Swedish Regions. A Region is a geographical and politically governed area with operational responsibility for health care, education and social services within its borders. Sweden is divided into 21 Regions and these are accountable for the development of each system in relation to national legislation, regulations and guidelines that are introduced by the government. Ultimately, a Region decides how to digitally transform healthcare within its area of responsibility, but is also expected to coordinate these developments in collaboration with other Regions.

In this project, empirical data is collected in collaboration with one of the Swedish Regions to advance our knowledge of drivers and barriers in digital transformation processes. These are studied at different levels of analysis (micro, meso, macro) to highlight how digital technologies create, or does not create, cross-functional organizational change. By doing so, the project will contribute with new knowledge to the literature on digital transformation.

In addition, it is in the interest of the Regions to carry out a change process with respect to the 2030 agenda. It is therefore the purpose of this project to study how sustainable digital transformation processes can be achieved with special regards to socially and ecologically sustainable aspects. Such studies are scarce in the literature on digital transformation, which is why we wish to address this gap in research.     

Latest update: 2021-09-14