Purpose – Healthcare systems are facing persistent challenges, such as dealing with an ageing population,related increases in chronic diseases and healthcare costs facilitated by technological progress. The authors argue that the boundaries of optimisation are being reached and a more fundamental change or transition is necessary. The purpose of this paper is to explore the contours of this transition in the Netherlands. The authors do this from the perspective of healthcare organisations that have participated in the “Expedition to Sustainable Healthcare”: a learning programme organised by the Dutch Network for Sustainable Healthcare aimed at creating frontrunners in this transition.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper combines conceptual with experimental empirical work. The authors use the transition research frameworks to conceptualise persistent problems and transitional dynamics in the healthcare system. In a longitudinal study, the authors analysed how the participating organisations developed after the expedition.
Findings – The process validated the initial understanding of persistent sustainability challenges. An integral approach to sustainable healthcare is translated as a transformation of culture, structures and practices and the development of capacity for crossing borders and domains, inside and outside of the organisation. To facilitate and stimulate such a process the authors found that problem structuring and collective identification of persistent problems and the unsustainability in the healthcare system is a crucial step towards a shared view and discourse that supports change.
Originality/value – A transition in the Dutch healthcare system is just starting to emerge and has barely been subject of research. This paper provides an empirical description of a transition management process in this context. The authors hope to lay a foundation for future work that seeks to explore transitions in healthcare in theory and practice.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Transition, Frontrunners, Sustainable healthcare, Transition management, Persistent problems
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1108/JHOM-07-2018-0185, hdl.handle.net/1765/112195
Journal Journal of Health, Organisation and Management
Citation
Johansen, F.G, Loorbach, D.A, & Stoopendaal, A.M.V. (2018). Exploring a transition in Dutch healthcare. Journal of Health, Organisation and Management. doi:10.1108/JHOM-07-2018-0185