Modular service provision for heterogeneous patient groups: A single case study in chronic Down syndrome care

Lisa Fransen, Vincent Peters, Bert Meijboom*, Esther de Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Service modularity could be promising for organizing healthcare delivery to heterogeneous patient groups because it enables cost reductions while also being responsive towards individual patients’ needs. However, no research on the applicability of modularity in this context exists. To this end, we conducted a qualitative single-case study on chronic healthcare provision for Down syndrome patients, delivered by multidisciplinary pediatric Downteams in the Netherlands, from a modular perspective.

We conducted six semi-structured interviews with coordinators of multidisciplinary Downteams in six hospitals. In addition, we gathered data by means of observations and analysis of relevant documentation. We transcribed, coded, and analyzed the interviews utilizing the Miles and Huberman approach. The consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research (COREQ) were applied in this study.

In all six Downteams studied, the modular package for Down syndrome patients (i.e. the visit to the Downteams) could clearly be divided into modules (i.e. the separate consultations with the various professionals), and into different components (i.e. sub-elements of these consultations). These modules and components were linked by different types of customer-flow and information-flow interfaces. These interfaces allowed patients to flow smoothly through the system and allowed for information transfer, respectively.

Our study shows a modular perspective is applicable to analyzing chronic healthcare for a heterogeneous patient group like children with Down syndrome. The decomposition of the various Downteams into modules and components led to mutual insight into each other’s professional practices, both within and across the various Downteams studied. It could be used to increase transparency of delivered care for patients and family. Moreover, it could be used to customize care provision by mixing-and-matching components. More detailed research on chronic modular care provision for patients with DS is needed to explore this.
Original languageEnglish
Article number720
Pages (from-to)720-728
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2019


  • Down syndrome
  • Healthcare
  • Interfaces
  • Service modularity


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