Document details

Users as developers and entrepreneurs of medical treatments/devices : the case of patients and their families and friends

Author(s): Shcherbatiuk, Viktoriia

Date: 2012

Persistent ID:

Origin: Veritati - Repositório Institucional da Universidade Católica Portuguesa

Subject(s): User innovation; Health-care innovation; Treatments and medical devices; User entrepreneurship


The health care industry has experienced a proliferation of innovations aimed at enhancing life expectancy, quality of life, diagnostic and treatment options. Previous research has shown that users themselves innovate with respect to services they selfprovide. In this study, we look at sources of health care innovations, in particular the role of users in the development of those innovations. We build our study upon previous work by Oliveira, von Hippel and DeMonaco (2011) and Oliveira (2012) and will empirically explore the role of patients and their families and friends (i.e. users) in developing new medical treatments and devices for themselves. We focus on chronic diseases, including respiratory diseases (Cystic Fibrosis, Asthma and Sleep Apnea), Cancer, Diabetes and medical devices and treatment for general purposes. For each of these chronic diseases we developed a sample of treatments and devices and show that patients with those diseases (or their families and friends) have developed a significant proportion of treatments and devices. Despite some sampling limitations we found that the majority (54%) of new medical treatment and devices for those diseases were developed by patients or their families and friends. Moreover, 53% of such patients who are user innovators have become entrepreneurs and created their own firms to produce their inventions. Our empirical findings have important policy and managerial implications for health care management and entrepreneurship.

Document Type Master thesis
Language English
Advisor(s) Oliveira, Pedro
Contributor(s) Shcherbatiuk, Viktoriia
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