In recent years, consumer participation in health care has gained critical importance as health care organizations (HCOs) seek varied avenues to enhance the quality and the value of their offerings. Many large HCOs have established online health communities where health care consumers (patients) can interact with one another to share knowledge and offer emotional support in disease management and care. Importantly, the focus of consumer participation in health care has moved beyond such personal health care management as the potential for consumers to participate in innovation and value creation in varied areas of the health care industry becomes increasingly evident. Realizing such potential, however, will require HCOs to develop a better understanding of the varied types of consumer value cocreation that are enabled by new information and communication technologies such as online health communities and Web 2.0 (social media) technologies.
This article seeks to contribute toward such an understanding by offering a concise and coherent theoretical framework to analyze consumer value cocreation in health care. We identify four alternate models of consumer value cocreation-the partnership model, the open-source model, the support-group model, and the diffusion model-and discuss their implications for HCOs.
We develop our theoretical framework by drawing on theories and concepts in knowledge creation, innovation management, and online communities. A set of propositions are developed by combining theoretical insights from these areas with real-world examples of consumer value cocreation in health care.
The theoretical framework offered here informs on the potential impact of the different models of consumer value cocreation on important organizational variables such as innovation cost and time, service quality, and consumer perceptions of HCO.
An understanding of the four models of consumer value cocreation can help HCOs adopt appropriate strategies and practices to embrace consumers as partners in the development and delivery of innovative health care products and services.
Priya Nambisan, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Department of Health Policy, Management and Behavior, School of Public Health, University at Albany, SUNY, Rensselaer, New York. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Satish Nambisan, PhD, is Associate Professor, Lally School of Management and Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York. E-mail: email@example.com.