How service modularity can provide the flexibility to support person-centered care and shared decision-making

E.A. Bartels, Bert Meijboom, L. M. W. Nahar, Esther de Vries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Today’s healthcare provision is facing several challenges, that cause the level of complexity to increase at a greater rate than the managerial capacity to effectively deal with it. One of these challenges is the demand for person-centered care in an approach that is tuned towards shared decision-making. Flexibility is needed to adequately respond to individual needs.

We elaborate on the potential of service modularity as a foundation for person-centered care delivered in a shared decision-making context, and examine to what extent this can improve healthcare. We primarily focused on theory building. To support our effort and gain insight into how service modularity is currently discussed and applied in healthcare, we conducted a scoping review.

Descriptions of actual implementations of modularity in healthcare are rare. Nevertheless, applying a modular perspective can be beneficial to healthcare service improvement since those service modularity principles that are still missing can often be fulfilled relatively easily to improve healthcare practice. Service modularity offers a way towards flexible configuration of services, facilitating the composition of tailored service packages. Moreover, it can help to provide insight into the possibilities of care for both healthcare professionals and patients.

We argue that applying a modular frame to healthcare services can contribute to individualized, holistic care provision and can benefit person-centered care. Furthermore, insight into the possibilities of care can help patients express their preferences, increasing their ability to actively participate in a shared decision-making process. Nevertheless, it remains essential that the healthcare professional actively collaborates with the patient in composing the care package, for which we propose a model. Altogether, we posit this can improve healthcare practice, especially for the people receiving care.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1245
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • service modularity
  • person-centered care
  • shared decision-making


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