Seminar with Pedro Oliveira
Development, diffusion and adoption of health innovations by patients and caregivers
By Pedro Oliveira (1), Leid Zejnilovic (2) and Helena Canhão (3)
(1) Católica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics
(2) Nova School of Business and Economics
(3) Nova Medical School
If necessity is the mother of invention, then healthcare must be an innovation-friendly field and patients of chronic diseases must be potential innovators, given the high level of needs that the disease imposes on them. In fact, there is growing evidence that patients and their informal caregivers, often develop innovative solutions to help them cope with their health disorders. In some cases, patients were even able to save their own lives. However, these innovations, only rarely diffuse (e.g. Oliveira et al. 2015, Zejnilovic et al. 2016).
The diffusion of these user-developed solutions, and their peer-to-peer adoption, is a poor studied phenomenon, despite the fact that it can potentially improve the portfolio of health solutions available, decrease the costs of development, and consequently the healthcare costs, while increasing well-being and social welfare.
In this study we present evidence on the extent to which patients and their caregivers innovate. In addition, using a large data set from a random and representative sample of residents in Portugal (N=6204), obtained during the second wave of a longitudinal, prospective, observational, population-based epidemiological study, we explore the characteristics of three groups of individuals: i) the developers of health-related solutions for own use, ii) the adopters of solutions developed by other patients or caregivers, and iii) the rest of the population. We also studied “intention to adopt” its grade and drivers associated.
We analyzed group differences with respect to the socio-demographic factors, “trust in physicians” and “trust in medical science”, social interactions among peers, individual search effort for health information and quality of life. We found statistically significant differences among the three groups in search behavior and social interactions with peers. Also, we found a negative relationship between the trust in science and the adoption of patient-developed solutions, and the trust in physicians and intentions to adopt solutions.
We also discuss the potential of online platforms and social networks to revolutionize healthcare by promoting health-related innovation and fostering its diffusion. Finally, we discuss the case of Patient Innovation, an online platform that in 36 months collected and medically curated over 800 innovations developed by patients from a community of over 60 patients in the five continents.