Customer-centric service innovation in health care: findings from a case study

  • Maria Vincenza Ciasullo
  • Silvia Cosimato
  • Alex Douglas
Keywords: service innovation, healthcare, service ecosystem, value co-creation, patient engagement


Purpose of the paper: Embracing a service based approach, the present study is aimed at investigating the development of a patient-centred service innovation and its rising in the actors’ value networks.

Methodology: A qualitative analysis based on an extreme case study has been performed. The investigation delved on a leading company offering specialized solutions for the treatment of chronic kidney diseases.

Findings: The study shed lights on those factors (e.g. resource openness, resource sharing, resource recombination and institutions generation) that stimulate patients’ disposition to identify co-creation opportunities, which effects span from micro, to meso and macro level.

Service innovation spreads its outcomes both for the involved actors and for the well-being of the whole health care service ecosystem.

Research limits: This paper was limited by the analysis of a single health care provider, which did not allow the generalizability of findings. Further research is needed to better understand this intriguing topic, in order to grasp the relationship between actor engagement and service innovation.

Practical implications: The logic underling this study highlighted the importance that patient engagement has at different ecosystem levels and its influence on the resource integration at the roots of service innovation. The understanding of these practices will support health care managers in finding new ways to engage patients in the improvement of personal and collective health services.

Originality of the paper: This work represents one of the first attempts to theoretically and empirically conceptualize health innovation embracing a service ecosystem perspective.


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