University of Oulu

Ylitalo, A., Laukka, E., Heponiemi, T. and Kanste, O.I. (2023), "Primary healthcare managers’ perceptions of management competencies at different management levels in digital health services: secondary analysis", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 247-260.

Primary healthcare managers’ perceptions of management competencies at different management levels in digital health services : secondary analysis

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Author: Ylitalo, Antti1,2; Laukka, Elina1,2; Heponiemi, Tarja2;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Health and Social Service System Research Group, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
3Medical Research Center, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Emerald, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-04-21


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to describe primary health-care managers’ perceptions of management competencies at different management levels in digital health services using the management competency assessment program as a framework.

Design/methodology/approach: A secondary analysis study involving 21 semi-structured individual interviews was conducted among Finnish primary health-care managers at different management levels (frontline, middle and senior). The deductive framework method was used to analyze the data.

Findings: Similarities and differences were found in management competencies between different levels of management. Competencies related to the use of digitalization were highlighted by managers at all management levels. Managers at all management levels were involved in developing digital solutions and supporting employees in using digital solutions in their work. Frontline and middle managers emphasized more issues related to day-to-day management and communication with employees, whereas senior managers highlighted the management of large entities.

Research limitations/implications: In the secondary analysis, data were used for purposes other than originally intended. Therefore, the data are subject to limitations of the methodology applied and should be transferred to other contexts with caution.

Practical implications: Identifying the management competencies needed to manage digital health services is important to target managers’ training according to needs in the future.

Social implications: The results could be used to develop the management of digital health services, as well as improve digital health services and their deployment.

Originality/value: Previous literature mostly examined managers’ informatics competencies and paid little attention to other management competencies. This study discusses more broadly the management competencies that digital health services require from managers at different levels of management.

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Series: Leadership in health services
ISSN: 1751-1879
ISSN-E: 1751-1887
ISSN-L: 1751-1879
Volume: 36
Issue: 2
Pages: 247 - 260
DOI: 10.1108/LHS-07-2022-0078
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 316 Nursing
Copyright information: © The Authors 2022, Antti Ylitalo, Elina Laukka, Tarja Heponiemi and Outi Ilona Kanste. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence.