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The Users' Role in Primary and Secondary Healthcare in Finland and Norway

Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration 21(1): 103-122, 2017


Dag Olaf Torjesen, Timo Aarrevaara, Martin Stangborli Time, Liina-Kaisa Tynkkynen


Healthcare has traditionally been heavily influenced by health professionals and managers, but it is increasingly recognised that patients' experiences and voices can play key roles in the development and design of sustainable healthcare services. In this article, we take an exploratory approach to user involvement (UI) in healthcare in two Nordic countries – Finland and Norway. Our theoretical and analytical approach draws on recent works by Dent and Pahor (2015) and Vrangbæk (2015), focusing on three types of participation – choice, voice and co-production. According to our results, these three types of UI have become more visible and acknowledged at the level of national policies in both countries. However, it seems that UI is more entrenched in the governance structures of Norwegian healthcare. The types of involvement are also different. In Finland, the emphasis seems to be on the consumerist ways of involvement, while in Norway, the focus has been more on co-production and voice.