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Special Issue "Sustainability for Healthcare"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Sergio Barile

Department of Management, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: systems thinking; viable systems approach (VSA); complexity, decision making; knowledge management; healthcare management
Guest Editor
Prof. Marialuisa Saviano

Department of Pharmacy and Pharmanomics Interdepartmental Research Center, University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: viable systems approach (VSA); healthcare management; pharmaceutical management; sustainability science; service & retail marketing; cultural heritage management; knowledge management
Guest Editor
Dr. Francesco Caputo

Department of Pharmacy and Pharmanomics Interdepartmental Research Center, University of Salerno, Italy
E-Mail
Interests: knowledge management; healthcare management; pharmaceutical management; viable systems approach (VSA)

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainability, as a research topic, is generally investigated to advance studies about environmental, cultural, economic, and social sustainability. More specifically, in the context of managerial and organizational studies, sustainability is largely investigated in terms of what organizations can contribute to the global challenges of sustainability.

By reversing the perspective (and in order to self-reinforce the engagement of organizations to sustainability), this Special Issue aims to investigate what “sustainability”, as a science, can contribute to people and organizations in the context of healthcare.

Healthcare is a worldwide concern. Indeed, it is the third of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—“Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”; it is also strongly related to most of the other SGDs.

Envisioning a transformational change in the management of healthcare, inspired by and to sustainability, this Special Issue welcomes manuscripts that advance studies in the fields of environmental, social, and economic sciences that can contribute the knowledge necessary to effectively manage healthcare and healthcare organizations in the light of a sustainability paradigm.

Adopting multi-, inter-, and trans-disciplinary perspectives and a systems approach, expected submissions cover the following topics:

  1. Sustainability science for healthcare management
  2. Sustainability values in healthcare management
  3. Systems management for sustainability in healthcare organizations
  4. Sustainability knowledge management in healthcare organizations
  5. The role of healthcare organizations in sustainable development
  6. Education for healthcare sustainability
  7. Engagement to sustainability in healthcare organizations
  8. New technologies for healthcare sustainability
  9. Measures of sustainability for healthcare organizations
  10. Healthcare and SDGs

This Special Issue is promoted by the Pharmanomics Interdepartmental Research Center, University of Salerno, Italy (http://www.pharmanomics.unisa.it/), the IASS, Italian Association for Sustainability Science, (http://www.scienzasostenibilita.org/) and the ASVSA, Association for Research on Viable Systems, (www.asvsa.org), Italy.

Prof. Sergio Barile
Prof. Marialuisa Saviano
Dr. Francesco Caputo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sustainability
  • sustainability science
  • sustainable development
  • healthcare
  • healthcare management
  • systems management
  • education for sustainability
  • new technology for sustainability
  • sustainability measures
  • sustainable development goals

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Knowledge Management in Healthcare Sustainability: A Smart Healthy Diet Assistant in Traditional Chinese Medicine Culture
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4197; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114197
Received: 28 September 2018 / Revised: 7 November 2018 / Accepted: 9 November 2018 / Published: 14 November 2018
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Abstract
In the past 40 years, with the changes to dietary structure and the dramatic increase in the consumption of meat products in developing countries, especially in China, encouraging populations to maintain their previous healthy eating patterns will have health, environmental, and economic co-benefits.
[...] Read more.
In the past 40 years, with the changes to dietary structure and the dramatic increase in the consumption of meat products in developing countries, especially in China, encouraging populations to maintain their previous healthy eating patterns will have health, environmental, and economic co-benefits. Healthy diet education plays an important role in the promotion of people’s healthy behavior. However, in the modern age, the data regarding healthy diets available on the internet is increasing rapidly and is distributed on multiple sources. It is time-consuming for users to learn about healthy diets on the internet: they need to search data on multiple platforms, choose and integrate information, and then understand what they have learned. To help people retrieve and learn healthy diet knowledge more efficiently and comprehensively, this paper designs a knowledge graph to integrate healthy diet information on the internet and provides a semantic retrieval system. In the knowledge graph, five main concepts are defined, including food material, dish, nutritional element, symptom, and crowd, as well as the relationships among them. In addition, Chinese dietary culture elements and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theory are also contained in the knowledge graph. The preliminary results show that by using the system, users learn healthy diet knowledge more quickly and comprehensively and they are more inclined to have balanced diets. This work could be regarded as a retrieval and education tool, which can assist healthcare and national sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability for Healthcare)
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Open AccessArticle Managing Healthcare Service Ecosystems: Abstracting a Sustainability-Based View from Hospitalization at Home (HaH) Practices
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 3951; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10113951
Received: 11 October 2018 / Revised: 26 October 2018 / Accepted: 27 October 2018 / Published: 30 October 2018
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Abstract
Sustainability seems to be a hot topic today upon which a paradigmatic transformation is going on; this affects many fields and sectors by revealing the significant implications for actors’ participation, such as in healthcare. Today, healthcare calls for renewing and increasing its own
[...] Read more.
Sustainability seems to be a hot topic today upon which a paradigmatic transformation is going on; this affects many fields and sectors by revealing the significant implications for actors’ participation, such as in healthcare. Today, healthcare calls for renewing and increasing its own main processes of hospitalization, as inspired by the current new light of sustainability; hospitalization at home (HaH) practices allow for new forms of hospitalizations, which are much more adherent to the real needs of patients and caregivers. Studies in service dominant logic (S-D logic) on service ecosystems help us in understanding which are the dynamics that are shaping actual conditions in healthcare. With the aim of contributing to the challenging debate about the role of “sustainability for healthcare”, this manuscript proposes a conceptual framework for investigating healthcare domains through the interpretative lens provided by the service ecosystems view. Previous managerial contributions are analyzed in an attempt to emphasize the contact points between studies about service ecosystem and sustainability so as to outline the possible roadmaps for sustainability in the healthcare domain. The three dimensions of HaH—efficiency of healthcare service, effectiveness in resource usage, and patients’ satisfaction—have been identified as possible levers on which promoting healthcare processes inspired by sustainability principles and their relations with the three pillars of sustainability science—the economy, society, and environment—have been analyzed. The reflections herein are finally discussed for proposing possible future directions for research interested in promoting a sustainability-based healthcare management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability for Healthcare)
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Open AccessArticle Higher Sustainability and Lower Opportunistic Behaviour in Healthcare: A New Framework for Performing Hospital-Based Health Technology Assessment
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3550; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103550
Received: 22 August 2018 / Revised: 26 September 2018 / Accepted: 30 September 2018 / Published: 3 October 2018
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Abstract
Innovative health technology deployment represents the primary challenge within the sustainability of public health systems. On one hand, new technologies may potentially improve access to care and the quality of services. On the other hand, their rapid evolution and broad implications on existing
[...] Read more.
Innovative health technology deployment represents the primary challenge within the sustainability of public health systems. On one hand, new technologies may potentially improve access to care and the quality of services. On the other hand, their rapid evolution and broad implications on existing procedures increase the risk to adopt technologies that are not value for money. As a consequence, Health Technology Assessment (HTA) is a critical process at each level of the National Health System. Focusing on the organisational level, this paper explores the current practices of Hospital-Based HTA (HB-HTA) in terms of management, control and behaviours of various actors involved. Among several tasks, decision-makers are appointed at managing the conflict of interest around health technology development, that could pave the way for corruption or other misleading behaviours. Accordingly, the purpose of the study is proposing a new strategic framework, named Health Technology Balanced Assessment (HTBA), to foster hospital-based health technology management aimed to align strategy and actions. The conceptual model is developed on three perspectives (clinical, economic and organisational) to make the actors involved in the assessment (clinicians, health professionals, hospital managers and patients) aware of the impact of new technology on the value chain. Besides supporting the decision-making process, such a tool represents support for the internal control system as a whole. By promoting structured evaluation, it increases transparency and accountability of public health organisations. Moreover, in the long run, the framework proposed will be useful to reach selected United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) to enhance the quality of healthcare in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability for Healthcare)
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Open AccessArticle Monitoring Viability and Sustainability in Healthcare Organizations
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3548; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103548
Received: 23 August 2018 / Revised: 27 September 2018 / Accepted: 29 September 2018 / Published: 3 October 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2771 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paper aims to advocate the incorporating of the sustainability perspective into the management control system of healthcare organizations. The study is based on two main premises: (1) the evolution of business models towards a wide perspective of the sustainability approach; (2) the
[...] Read more.
The paper aims to advocate the incorporating of the sustainability perspective into the management control system of healthcare organizations. The study is based on two main premises: (1) the evolution of business models towards a wide perspective of the sustainability approach; (2) the evolution of control systems in healthcare organizations towards a control-based approach to monitor the effectiveness and efficiency of the service targeted primarily to cut costs and expenses. Our methodology is developed at theoretical and conceptual level starting from: (1) a literature review on the issue, highlighting main trends and gaps and (2) the adoption of the Viable Systems Approach (VSA) as a conceptual framework oriented to integrate a wide variety of stakeholder perspectives and interests into the business model. Our findings lead us to introduce the Systems Viability Monitoring Model for Sustainability as a potential reference framework to build healthcare management control systems in which the notion of ‘systems viability,’ as defined by VSA, becomes a bridging concept by means of which the sustainability perspective can be incorporated into the management control system of healthcare organizations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability for Healthcare)
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Open AccessArticle Investigating Health Systems in the European Union: Outcomes and Fiscal Sustainability
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3186; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093186
Received: 8 August 2018 / Revised: 3 September 2018 / Accepted: 3 September 2018 / Published: 6 September 2018
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Abstract
Healthcare systems aim to provide access to good quality care, while ensuring equity and solidarity. The fiscal sustainability of healthcare systems has become a matter of concern in recent European Union (EU) debates, considering the ever increasing need for adequate healthcare determined by
[...] Read more.
Healthcare systems aim to provide access to good quality care, while ensuring equity and solidarity. The fiscal sustainability of healthcare systems has become a matter of concern in recent European Union (EU) debates, considering the ever increasing need for adequate healthcare determined by factors such as aging population, investments in technology and infrastructure, medical products and wages. Our paper seeks to measure the health system performances of the EU countries by building up a composite index, which will then be used as a tool in investigating the relationship between health performance and the fiscal sustainability of health systems. A principal components analysis (PCA) was applied to build the composite index through the use of the most relevant health indicators provided by Eurostat and the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform. The composite index offers a comprehensive performance assessment and provides a clear ranking of the EU countries based on their health system performances. Further investigation of the link between health performance and fiscal sustainability revealed that higher ranks are associated with higher shares of health expenditures in gross domestic product (GDP), a large share of employment in the health sector, and higher duration of working life. These patterns are followed by efficient health systems, encountering reduced sustainability risks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability for Healthcare)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Prevention of Corruption as an Unavoidable Way to Ensure Healthcare System Sustainability
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3071; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093071
Received: 7 August 2018 / Revised: 24 August 2018 / Accepted: 27 August 2018 / Published: 29 August 2018
PDF Full-text (240 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Corruption has found very fertile ground in the health sector. Many studies demonstrate the negative relationship between sustainability and corruption. However, relatively little is known at this time about how to prevent corruption in healthcare organizations (HCOs), and thus to recover the important
[...] Read more.
Corruption has found very fertile ground in the health sector. Many studies demonstrate the negative relationship between sustainability and corruption. However, relatively little is known at this time about how to prevent corruption in healthcare organizations (HCOs), and thus to recover the important sustainability of the entire healthcare system. After noticing this gap in the literature, the authors’ aim in undertaking this study was twofold: first, to analyze the current state of knowledge about how Italian HCOs adopt corruption prevention plans in compliance with the National Plan issued by the National Anti-Corruption Authority; second, to identify some clusters of HCOs which represent different adoption patterns of corruption prevention interventions and to classify these HCOs. For these purposes, the authors studied 68 HCOs along 13 dimensions that characterized the corruption prevention plans. The empirical results showed that the HCOs were not fully compliant with the anti-corruption legislation. At the same time, the authors identified three clusters of HCOs with different patterns of anti-corruption prevention interventions. The clusters that adopted some specific interventions seemed to be more sustainable than others. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability for Healthcare)
Open AccessArticle Information Technology in Healthcare: HHC-MOTES, a Novel Set of Metrics to Analyse IT Sustainability in Different Areas
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2721; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082721
Received: 28 June 2018 / Revised: 30 July 2018 / Accepted: 30 July 2018 / Published: 2 August 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (742 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability, as a science, is the guideline of the present work. It aims to analyse, by means of a literature review, various areas of healthcare in which information technology (IT) has been- or could be-used, leading to several sources of sustainability, for example,
[...] Read more.
Sustainability, as a science, is the guideline of the present work. It aims to analyse, by means of a literature review, various areas of healthcare in which information technology (IT) has been- or could be-used, leading to several sources of sustainability, for example, cost savings, better teamwork, higher quality and efficiency of medical care. After a brief introduction analysing the strategic contexts in which innovation in general, and IT in particular, can be a source of general improvements in efficiency, cost savings and service quality, the research focuses on the healthcare system by discussing the different nature of private and public organizations in terms of adopting innovations and changes and discussing the issue of consumer health costs and consumer choices. The following part focuses on the qualitative benefits of IT in healthcare and discusses the importance of metrics for measuring performance, costs and efficiency in this area. The work then qualitatively introduces a new set of Key Performance Indicators (KPI), partly based on literature from different topics and existing and validated sets of metrics, analysing, under the point of view of sustainability, the implementation of IT in healthcare, namely in management, organization, technology, environment and social fields (HHC-MOTES framework). The model, inspired by and to sustainability, can be used as a decision support at the strategic management level as well as for the analysis and investigation of the effects of IT systems in the healthcare sector from various perspectives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability for Healthcare)
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Open AccessArticle Using Traditional Chinese Medicine Ideas as a Mechanism to Engage People in Health Awareness
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2702; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082702
Received: 4 July 2018 / Revised: 24 July 2018 / Accepted: 30 July 2018 / Published: 1 August 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2520 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Improving health awareness is essential to health and healthcare sustainability. How to arouse attention to the health of people and encourage them to attend to healthcare progress so that we can reduce the costs of promoting healthcare by achieving more with less effort
[...] Read more.
Improving health awareness is essential to health and healthcare sustainability. How to arouse attention to the health of people and encourage them to attend to healthcare progress so that we can reduce the costs of promoting healthcare by achieving more with less effort remains to be explored. In this paper, we provide a simplified health management app, called iTongue, with a basis in traditional Chinese medicine. People use iTongue to take pictures of their tongues to have a general idea of their health. We realize automated tongue image diagnosis using machine learning techniques to establish the relationship between the tongue image features and the cold or hot ZHENG (traditional Chinese medicine syndrome) in traditional Chinese medicine by learning through examples and assisting people to engage in health management. The results show that health management interaction based on traditional Chinese medicine has a positive influence on improving people’s attention to their health, encouraging them to participate in health management activities and develop the habit of caring about their health over the long term. In the future, we could consider using this kind of traditional Chinese medicine idea as a means of publicity to engage people in healthcare and to assist healthcare sustainability development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability for Healthcare)
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Open AccessArticle Multilevel Analysis of International Scientific Collaboration Network in the Influenza Virus Vaccine Field: 2006–2013
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1232; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041232
Received: 2 March 2018 / Revised: 13 April 2018 / Accepted: 17 April 2018 / Published: 18 April 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (18688 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Influenza virus vaccine plays an important role in preventing influenza and protecting people’s health. The international collaboration in influenza virus vaccine field is related to the sustainability of healthcare. To understand the elaborate characteristics of multiform international collaboration in the influenza virus vaccine
[...] Read more.
Influenza virus vaccine plays an important role in preventing influenza and protecting people’s health. The international collaboration in influenza virus vaccine field is related to the sustainability of healthcare. To understand the elaborate characteristics of multiform international collaboration in the influenza virus vaccine field, this paper constructs a multilayered analytical framework (at the country, city and institution levels) of international scientific collaboration to examine the regional distribution, dynamic changes and common themes of collaboration. A total of 1878 international collaboration papers of the influenza virus vaccine field published from 2006 to 2013 were collected from the Web of Science database. Based on this dataset, the paper utilizes bibliometrics and social network analysis approaches to explore international publication trends and collaboration performance in the influenza virus vaccine field. Results show that: (1) the three kinds of collaboration networks (country, city and institution levels) all present dynamic structures, strong core-periphery characteristics, and their degree centrality distributions follows segmented Zifp-Pareto distribution; and (2) although it is known that there exist corresponding relationships among countries, cities and institutions in the geographical position, most of their associated categories, network locations and changing trends are all non-conformal. These findings suggest that multilayered analysis enables a more comprehensive understanding of international scientific collaboration in the influenza virus vaccine field. In general, detailed conclusions can help different levels of governments to draw policy implications for promoting further international collaboration research to enhance the ability on preventing the disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability for Healthcare)
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