Patients and Informal Caregivers as Healthcare User Innovators

Pedro Oliveira, Leid Zejnilovic, Helena Canhão

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Patients, as well as their informal caregivers, often develop new innovative solutions to help them cope with their health disorders. This activity might increase and improve the availability and diversity of health solutions, decrease costs in healthcare, and improve individual well-being and social welfare. Despite its growing importance, little is known about the factors contributing to the process. Also, peer adoption of the solutions developed by patients or caregivers has not been studied. Given easy access to vast internet resources and peers globally, it is increasingly important to understand what may influence user innovation and its adoption in health, for improving individual well-being and ensuring their safety. In particular, how interactions with peers, with physicians, or search behavior, along with socio-demographics, may influence the decision to develop a solution or adopt one developed by a peer. In this paper we investigate the development of user innovations in healthcare (by patients and their caregivers), as well as the adoption by other patients, and identify individual-level factors associated with these processes. A large, random, and representative sample of adult residents in Portugal of over 6200 respondents was collected via computer-assisted phone survey. 1.3% of the respondents reported having developed a solution for own use and 3.3% reported to have adopted a solution developed by another patients. Three groups (Developers, Adopters, Remaining population) has distinctive characteristics. Gender plays an important role in the solution development, as women are less likely to develop one. Education is positively associated with the development activity, but also with the intentions to adopt a peer-developed solution. Search for health-related information is positively associated with the development, adoption, and the intentions to adopt a solution. Interactions with peers over the internet and rare, but in-person interactions are frequent and have positive association with the dependent variables in all three groups. The results also suggest that the trust in doctors represents an important dimension that shapes the attitudes of the population towards peer-developed solutions. The study has important implications for the practice and theory.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Eightieth Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
EditorsGuclu Atinc
Number of pages1
Place of PublicationBriarcliff Manor, NY
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication date2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2020: Broadening Our Sight - Virtual
Duration: 7 Aug 202011 Aug 2020
Conference number: 80


ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2020
Internet address
SeriesAcademy of Management Proceedings

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