Value Co-creation in Healthcare
Value creation in healthcare is changing. Patients are no longer satisfied with the traditional ‘top down’ approach having little to no input in the service they receive. By bringing the patient into the decision-making process alongside clinical staff, their individual preferences are listened to and acted upon to co-create the service. This development reflects a wider movement towards a more ‘patient-centric’ model of healthcare, aiming to improve patient engagement, satisfaction and overall well-being. In this article we discuss what value co-creation in Healthcare is, why it’s needed in healthcare and current patient value co-creation activities.
What is Value Co-Creation?
Today’s patients have access to more information than ever before. This is in-part due to the growth of online patient forms and health websites such as WebMD.com. These sites allow patients to better understand their illness, converse will fellow sufferers and review treatment options. As a result, consumers demand more and are subjecting current practices to scrutiny, analysis and evaluation.
Co-creation allows patients to engage in dialogue to jointly generate value throughout the service experience. This contrasts to the traditional one-way ‘do as I say’ approach adopted by many clinicians. By engaging the patient, they transform from a passive ‘user‘ to an active ‘contributor‘.
In understanding that the provider is only partly responsible for the provision of the service, the entire paradigm of value creation in healthcare is shifted. Successful patient value co-creation strategies are characterised by two themes. Firstly, a high number of interactions between individuals in the healthcare network. Secondly, a high level of activities, both cognitive or behavioural, undertaken by the patient.
In practice, the patient/ Clinician dynamic will always be characterised by information asymmetry. The clinician has expert understanding of the disease, however, they do not have an expert understanding of the patient’s individual preferences. By integrating the clinician’s expertise with the patient’s preferences, the perfect service can be co-created.
Why is it needed in Healthcare?
As populations age the burden of chronic disease grows. The treatment of such diseases requires meaningful behavioural changes to maximise improvement in quality of life. Yet adherence to such lifestyles changes remains low across the board. By seeing each patient as an individual with their own unique experiences and preferences, the treatment they receive can be designed specifically around them. The better suited the service, the better the adherence. Patient participation through shared decision making has been shown to improve psychological well-being, improve medical status and lead to greater satisfaction with their physician (McColl-Kennedy, 2012).
Value Co-creation Activities:
- Build Social Capital. Such practices build relationships across networks, often through digital platforms, increasing trust and co-operation. Examples include online patient forums or in-person patient groups. Healthcare providers should work to connect patients with relevant groups.
- Develop a shared Language, Signs, Symbols and Stories. In order to communicate effectively a shared language that is understood fully by all parties is fundamental. Shared signs, symbols and stories go further to develop a shared meaning across the network.
- Creating new Value Propositions. Imaging there are two patients suffering from renal failure, the first is a retired frail gentleman who lives alone, the second a middle-aged married mother of two who works part time. Despite suffering from the same illness, both patients demand distinctly different treatment regimes. The value derived is not from the treatment itself, however the environment in which the treatment is delivered. The working mother wishes to self-transfuse at home, yet the retired man must be supervised as an out-patient.
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Frow, P., McColl-Kennedy, J. R., & Payne, A. (2016). Co-creation practices: Their role in shaping a health care ecosystem. Industrial Marketing Management, 56, 24–39.
McColl-Kennedy, J. R., Vargo, S. L., Dagger, T. S., Sweeney, J. C., & Kasteren, Y. van. (2012). Health Care Customer Value Cocreation Practice Styles. Journal of Service Research, 15(4), 370–389