Context challenges the champion: improving hip fracture care in a Swedish university hospital

Susanne Löfgren*, Johan Hansson, John Øvretveit, Mats Brommels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to describe and explain a clinician-led improvement of a hip fracture care process in a university hospital, and to assess the results and factors helping and hindering change implementation. Design/methodology/approach: The paper has a mixed methods case study design. Data collection was guided by a framework directing attention to the content and process of the change, its context and outcomes. Findings: Using a multiprofessional project team, beneficial changes in the early parts of the care process were achieved, but inability to change surgical staff work practices meant that the original goal of operating patients within 24 hours was not reached. After three years, top management introduced a hospital-wide process improvement programme, which "took over" the responsibility for improving hip fracture care. Research implications/limitations: A clear vision why change is needed and what needs to be done, which is well communicated by a respected clinical leader, can motivate personnel, but other influences are also needed to bring about change. Without a plan agreed and supported by top management, changes are likely to be limited to parts of the process and improvements to patient care may be minimal. These and other findings may be applicable to similar situations in other services. Originality/value: This case study is an illustration of both the strengths and the weaknesses of a "bottom-up, clinician-champion-led improvement initiative" in a complex university hospital.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-133
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical guidelines
  • Medical schools
  • Patient pathway
  • Quality improvement
  • Sweden
  • Universities


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