Design and development of a digital diagnostic Clinical Pathway: Evidence from an action research study

Armando Calabrese, Antonio D'Uffizi, Nathan Levialdi Ghiron, Luca Berloco, Elaheh Pourabbas, Nathan Proudlove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The primary objective of this paper is to show a systematic and methodological approach for the digitalization of critical clinical pathways (CPs) within the healthcare domain.

The methodology entails the integration of service design (SD) and action research (AR) methodologies, characterized by iterative phases that systematically alternate between action and reflective processes, fostering cycles of change and learning. Within this framework, stakeholders are engaged through semi-structured interviews, while the existing and envisioned processes are delineated and represented using BPMN 2.0. These methodological steps emphasize the development of an autonomous, patient-centric web application alongside the implementation of an adaptable and patient-oriented scheduling system. Also, business processes simulation is employed to measure key performance indicators of processes and test for potential improvements. This method is implemented in the context of the CP addressing transient loss of consciousness (TLOC), within a publicly funded hospital setting.

The methodology integrating SD and AR enables the detection of pivotal bottlenecks within diagnostic CPs and proposes optimal corrective measures to ensure uninterrupted patient care, all the while advancing the digitalization of diagnostic CP management. This study contributes to theoretical discussions by emphasizing the criticality of process optimization, the transformative potential of digitalization in healthcare and the paramount importance of user-centric design principles, and offers valuable insights into healthcare management implications.

The study’s relevance lies in its ability to enhance healthcare practices without necessitating disruptive and resource-intensive process overhauls. This pragmatic approach aligns with the imperative for healthcare organizations to improve their operations efficiently and cost-effectively, making the study’s findings relevant.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-126
Number of pages33
JournalEuropean Journal of Innovation Management
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2024


  • Action research
  • Clinical pathway
  • Digital transformation
  • Process management
  • Scheduling
  • Service design


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