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EMAC 2023 Annual

Sustainability Challenges in Service Ecosystems: Habitual Waste in Healthcare

Published: May 24, 2023


Philippa Hunter-Jones, University of Liverpool; Lynn Sudbury-Riley, University of Liverpool; Ahmed Al-Abdin, University of Liverpool; Chloe Spence, University of Liverpool


Waste generated through healthcare services is significant, estimated to be 5.9 million tons a year in the US alone. Adopting a service ecosystems lens to study palliative care, we mine the empirical findings of our seven-year study of this service ecosystem to provide a more nuanced, systems wide understanding of what waste is generated, by whom, and consider how we might respond. Building upon findings we argue the existence of habitual waste, waste generated as a by-product of the operant and operand resource interface with ecosystem institutions which contribute to value co-destruction. We highlight a future focus upon professional development, work exploring health literacy and digital literacy and person-centered care as pivotal to pursuing sustainability in healthcare for the achievement of longer-term responsible investments. Research limitations and opportunities for future research are detailed.