Health digitalisation and innovative entrepreneurship status. A qualitative exploration of private sector in Greece and synthesis of main issues
Keywords:healthcare enterprises, digitalisation, innovation, entrepreneurship
This primary research aims to examine to what extent Greek health entrepreneurs, as they looking for options to grow their businesses, have realized the opportunities offered to them by the new technologies. Furthermore, to which level they have implemented innovative practices, based on the potential of digitalisation, to improve the operation of their entrepreneurial activities in providing treatment services to the citizens as well as to cooperate with other structures and other organisations. The research explores the views of the entrepreneurs on using digital practices at their services and their impact regards to the reduction of operating costs, the control of materials and the change of the patient-doctor cooperation grid. A qualitative study was conducted with semi-structured interviews in twelve healthcare companies from various regions of Greece. The selection of the sample was made with the Convenience Sampling strategy. The interviews were conducted in Greek with the owners or managers of these healthcare units and the duration was 45 minutes. The content of the semi-structured interviews was classified into three thematic categories. The first section dealt with innovative digital interventions in relation to suppliers, materials, wares, supplies and payments. The second section is concerned with innovative digital interventions compared to the public services and self-administrative authorities, insurance funds and public health structures. The third section is concerned with the innovative digital interventions in relation to the quality care of the patient, his treatment and upgrading the offered health services. The research showed that there were discrepancies in the development of innovative digital activities among the examined companies. Innovative digital interventions were developed by health enterprises, especially in the field of their internal operation and in the service of their patients. On the contrary, many digital interventions could not be completed since there has been an incompatibility with public services and public health structures where the digital transition has not progressed in the same level. Entrepreneurs who preferred traditional forms of operating and offering services to their patients, they did so by fearing that innovative digital activities required more financial capitals and new qualified staff that would surely increase their operating costs.