Collaborative Innovation Aids Medical Decisions in Virtual Communities: A Review of the Literature

Collaborative Innovation Aids Medical Decisions in Virtual Communities: A Review of the Literature

Anjum Razzaque (Ahlia University, Bahrain)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0062-0.ch014


Some Healthcare (HC) initiatives like electronic health record were promising but due to adaptability and interoperability concern proved a failure. On the other hand, HC initiatives like social networking were reported facilitators of patient care through innovative decision making (DM) in Virtual Communities (VCs). Research needs to assess the relationship between innovation and DM; hence this chapter is the first literature review attempt assessing the relations between social capital, innovation, and DM in virtual environments.
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Introduction: Social Capital, Innovation And Decision Making

Healthcare (HC) is facing times of change. HC must keep up with constantly changing relationships between HC systems, information and information technology (IT) and reduce costs while maintaining quality (Länsisalmi, Kivimäki, Aalto, & Ruoranen, 2006). Such goals arise during an era when HC suffers in quality (Bodenheimer & Fernandez, 2005) due to a high rate of medical diagnostic errors caused by poor medical Decision making (DM) (Kozer, Macpherson & Shi, 2002). DM is an area in the HC sector that suffers in quality (Lin & Chang, 2008) due to high patient mortality rate (Kozer et al., 2002). Previous strategies, like electronic health record (EHR) promised reduction in medical errors, but have failed (Jalal-Karim & Balachandran, 2008). Apart from the EHR initiative, HC sector shifted to the Web 2.0 social networks (Landro, 2006), i.e. virtual communities (VCs) as a newer and more effective tool within a collaborative environment (Wright & Sittig, 2008). In HC, the term network is a set of people tied to participate within a community. This term pertains to collaboration, partnership and people/group/organizational relations (Cunningham et al., 2011). Cunningham’s study (2011) contributed five dimensions for improving HC quality: safety, effectiveness, efficiency, patient centeredness and equability and concluded that there is no guarantee that such a community of networks will improve quality of patient care; hence the question requires further research. The authors of this paper are in support of this recommendation that future research should better understand the effectiveness of networks in the HC sector from other dimension like HC innovation and medical DM.

In an era of HC social networks, Jha (2011) reported that there is a demand for innovations like EHR. However, EHR is an expensive encounter. Other examples of HC innovation are surgery procedures or a drug theory, etc. (Dixon-Woods et al., 2011). From the lens of any other sector, besides HC, a firm relies on external collaboration to enhance their innovation and attain a competitive advantage to beat its global competition. Innovation is socially interactive given that various stakeholders are involved in shared learning through resource sharing and knowledge transfer (Pérez-Luño et al., 2011). Innovation relies heavily on shared knowledge of interdisciplinary groups (Gallego, 2010) where knowledge sharing occurs within the networks of relations. SC within such networks accommodates innovation through its network of resources (Petrou & Daskalopoulou, 2013). Here, networks aid new knowledge creation between participants to determine organizational innovation. At this stage, the social networks of relations create SC, thus articulate value to facilitate resources and knowledge sharing, to improve DM quality through reduced uncertainty and risks and an encouraging environment of producing innovation (Petrou & Daskalopoulou, 2013). This is how social capital (SC) supports innovation and, in turn, innovation supports DM, as well as, SC aids DM (as depicted in Figure 1). The conceptual framework in Figure 1 relates physicians’ SC, their innovation and their medical DM. In section 2, the authors define SC theory (SCT), innovation and medical DM quality. In section 3, the authors critique published literature to propose thee relationships: relationship between (1) SCT and innovation, (2) innovation and DM quality and (3) SCT and DM quality.

Figure 1.

Framework: Mediating role of innovation between physicians’ SC and medical DM


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