Methods Inf Med 2009; 48(05): 419-428
DOI: 10.3414/ME9235
Original Articles
Schattauer GmbH

Applicability of Lewin´s Change Management Model in a Hospital Setting

J. Šuc
1   Chair of Medical Informatics, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany
H.-U. Prokosch
1   Chair of Medical Informatics, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany
T. Ganslandt
1   Chair of Medical Informatics, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

20 August 2009

Publication Date:
20 January 2018 (online)


Objectives: Today’s socio-economic developments in the healthcare area require continued optimization of processes and cost structures at hospitals, often associated with process changes for different occupational groups in the hospital. Formal methods for managing change have been established in other industries. The goal of this study was to assess the applicability of Kurt Lewin’s change management method to a health informatics-related project at a German university hospital.

Methods: A project at the University Hospital Erlangen introducing changed requirements in the documentation of costly material in the surgical area was conducted following the concept of Lewin’s approach based on field theory, group dynamics, action research and the three steps of change. A data warehouse contributed information to several steps in the change process.

Results: The model was successfully applied to the change project. Socio-dynamic forces relevant to the project goals were identified and considered in the design of the new documentation concept. The achieved documentation level met the new requirements and in some areas even exceeded them.

Conclusions: Based on the project experiences, we consider Kurt Lewin’s approach applicable to change management projects in the hospital sector without a requirement for substantial additional resources, however, specific hospital characteristics need to be taken into account. The data warehouse played an important role by providing essential contributions throughout the entire change process.

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