E-Health Business Models Prototyping by Incremental Design

E-Health Business Models Prototyping by Incremental Design

Josep Ma. Monguet, Eduardo Huerta, Joaquín Fernández, Marco Ferruzca, Susana Badillo
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2770-3.ch038
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Internet and IT (Information technologies) among other innovative drivers push companies to update their business models, and design stands out as an emergent issue strongly connected with innovation, which, in turn, is the main resource of the modern economy. One way to achieve innovation is through artifacts that allow the development of successful information systems in organizations. Moreover, the field of health appears as a sector with many opportunities to improve services through IT and design. Therefore, e-health comes out as one of the elements that should eventually help in the evolution of business models in health systems. In this chapter, the authors present a design method of IT artifacts for e-health adapted from the method proposed by Pahl and Beitz (1995). The correctness of the design method adopted is a significant issue to generate new business models successfully or to adapt the existing ones in health systems.
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Many health institutions are nowadays involved in e-health projects that envision the application of internet and IT to improve their activity. This is traduced, from one side, in opportunities for multidisciplinary research and, in the other, is a chance to evolve some of the current business models in health.

E-health can become one of the main areas for e-business development in the future years, “thanks to information technologies have been touted as both a solution to rising health care costs and a way to reduce medical errors” (Adler-Milstein, 2009). In fact, IT investment is central to President Obama´s vision for health care reform in the USA and his estimates of the savings from it have been substantial (Adler-Milstein, 2009). A similar view exists in Europe where e-health is one of the central items of the European Commission Agenda. The huge investments expected all and around the world will turn e-health in a fruitful field for opportunities, where final success of many of them will depend on business models innovation.

The work presented in this chapter, based in the collaboration between health institutions, an internet company and a technical university, allow testing a methodology to design and develop internet artifacts for e-health, considering the business model evolution from the beginning.

The work is founded on the desk analysis of current paradigms of design management and relays on a field experience based in the application of the proposed methodology to a 9 e-health prototypes created during the period 2006 – 2009. The last one, a tele-rehabilitation system named E-DIS, is used to illustrate the design methodology proposed.

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