Implementation of the Blue Ocean Strategy in Healthcare: The Case of Greece

Implementation of the Blue Ocean Strategy in Healthcare: The Case of Greece

Antonia Mourtzikou (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, School of Medicine, Athens, Greece & “ATTIKON” University Hospital, Chaidari, Greece), Marilena Stamouli (Department of Biochemistry, Naval and Veterans Hospital, Athens, Greece) and Dimitrios Emmanouil (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/IJRQEH.2019040103
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The business strategy of “blue ocean” is focused on creating demand through an impressive improvement in value for buyers at an affordable price. There are already many international references regarding the “blue oceans” in the field of health. What technological advances have also offered to the modern healthcare environment is a great variety of management and operational tools from electronic health records to telecare systems. While these technologies have different implementation backgrounds, what they all present as a competitive advantage is a promising era of efficiency and an opportunity to contain medical costs better. These technologies could obviously present a great opportunity in Greece's main organizational problem, the vast fragmentation of healthcare system. So far, many of these technologies have entered as part of the restructuring efforts, including electronic prescription systems and electronic auditing concerning drug reimbursement. What is needed, in order to fully incorporate these tools, is that systems are fully integrated.
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William Newman (1951) was the first who mentioned the term “strategy” in the frame of management. Later on, Chandler (1962), Ansoff Igor (1965), Quinn James Brain (1988), Andrews Kenneth (1971), Porter Michael (1983, 1996) as well as Johnson and Scholes express different definitions about the business strategy (Johnson, Scholes, & Whittington, 2006).

The importance of strategy relies on the fact that the resources available to achieve goals are usually limited. The strategy involves setting goals, determining actions to achieve the goals and mobilizing resources to execute the actions. A strategy describes how the ends (goals) will be accomplished by the means (resources) now and in the future (Wikipedia, 2018a). The strategy can be intended or can emerge as a pattern of activity, as the organization adapts to its environment or competes. It involves activities such as strategic planning and strategic thinking (Vinzant & Vinzant, 1999).

The model of strategic management consists of: 1) the analysis of the environment, 2) the confirmation of strategy, 3) the implementation of the strategy and 4) the control and evaluation of the results (Wheelen & Hunger, 2006), see Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Strategic management model (Adapted from Wheelen & Hunger, 2006)


The purpose of business depends on the values, ambitions, and beliefs of the executive personnel. Mintzberg and Waters (1985) argue that strategies can be Deliberate and Emergent, while their implementation must be carefully thought out and planned (deliberate) before they are carried out, (Mintzberg, H. & Waters, 1985), see Figure 2 and 3.

Figure 2.

Strategic management processes and activities

Figure 3.

Deliberate and Emergent strategies, (Adapted from: Mintzberg, H. & Waters, 1985)


Implementing the strategic management, the expected benefits can be either financial or not financial (David, 1999).

Strategic planning is the process of a company or an organization to define its strategy, regarding the achievement of the vision (Wikipedia, 2018b), see Figures 4a and 4b for details about the strategic planning process and the relevant steps.

Figure 4.

(a) Strategic planning process; (b) Strategic planning process steps


Strategic thinking is more about synthesis (i.e., “connecting the dots”) than analysis (i.e., “finding the dots”), (Mintzberg, Henry, 1994; Wikipedia, 2018c).

The point is the manager to synthesize the learning from all sources into a vision of the direction that the business should pursue (Wikipedia, 2018c), Figures 5a and 5b.

Figure 5.

(a) Strategic thinking framework; (b) The GlobalEdge strategic thinking framework


The purpose of writing the paper is to study how tools taken from strategic management could be implemented in the field of the health sector, in order to be achieved the vision for reliable, quality and efficient health services.

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