Sustainability is a fundamental concern of our times and is particularly important in healthcare, since people are embedded in the healthcare systems on which their health and the viable usage of resources depend. Due to the complexity of healthcare systems, both in terms of governance and pathways from decisions to behaviours, there is no one-size-fits-all theory, but solutions have to be co-created with the actors operating within the systems. This paper proposes case theory as the methodological approach to analyse and interpret cases in order to identify theories suitable for sustainable healthcare systems. Case theory is a recent extension of case study research that includes network theory and systems theory. An example of a case from an Italian regional healthcare system dealing with stroke patients is presented to show how several methods can be mixed and how a substantive theory emerges.
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