The Importance of Distribution of Functions for E-health Actors: A Set of Stakeholders’ Roles

Birutė Mikulskienė, Birutė Pitrėnaitė-Žilėnienė, Danguolė Jankauskienė


The objective of the present research is to develop a model for cooperation and distribution of e-health interested functions and to test the model in an actual health care system, i.e., to check how Lithuania’s e-health interested parties share their cooperative roles and functions in the multidisciplinary knowledge control cycle to develop elements of the e-health system. The aforementioned model is based on the key assumption that a health care institution and its employees are major users and owners of e-health production and therefore take the leading role. Two management theories have been employed: the knowledge control process and the theory of role distribution in the cooperation cycle. The core of the theoretical model is to tackle the question as to which of the interested parties and during which knowledge generation phases should take coordinating, developing, observing, implementing and specialist roles.
The practical testing of the model has revealed that the theoretical role distribution model is only partly realized in practice. The Ministry of Health Care performs excessive functions leaving too few for health care institutions. Patient participation is also ignored. Moreover, a tendency that e-health participants constantly request a strong coordinator independently of the stage of the knowledge cycle has been observed. The participants tend to pass the function on to the Ministry of Health Care in expectation to simultaneously dispose responsibility for financial decisions and the quality of final results. Having passed the leading role on to the health care institution, the problems of distribution of functions would remain incompletely resolved due to an overestimated contribution of IT companies as product developers or other reasons, including disregard and isolation. Thus, the developing role of IT companies is possible only in a separate knowledge control phase, whereas their contributin during other phases is shared between an implementor and observer.


e-health; stakeholders; knowledge management; role theory

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