Purpose – How information systems are enabling innovative models and processes for managing information in health domains? A possible answer is through virtual health communities (or patient-centered eHealth): digital social networks where people share their clinical history, health information and treatments results. The purpose of this paper is to provide a framework for understanding those virtual health communities, identifying their models and main characteristics. Design/methodology/approach – Our main objective is to identify and systematize the overlapping research area between online social network and health sector. In order to accomplish this aim we conduct a first exploratory literature review. Originality/value – Information and Communication Technology (ICT) deeply changed the way in which organizations manage (collect, store, analyse, transmit and use) information and data. ICT also enabled and triggered business models in which external actors contribute in the production of information and knowledge valuable for the company (eg. open innovation, FLOSS, citizen-science programs). Health sector, due to the peculiarity of its nature and the sensitiveness of the information processed, has been one of the latest ones to take advantage of this new opportunity. The newness of the phenomenon, as well as the growing number of people using virtual health networks (VHN), call for a work of systematization of the emerging models and factors. Practical implications – In VHNs, a consistent number of patients (considered external to organizations in the traditional management/innovation models) voluntarily disclose their health information to other patients. Thus, even presenting some accuracy and truthfulness issues, nevertheless this model of information sharing constitutes an incredibly rich source of data for researchers (and potentially for pharmaceutical industries and health organizations). VHNs could integrate or expand the traditional pharmaceutical clinical trials; in such case, innovation will not be managed only internally by a company, but will be opened to patients’ direct contribution. Risks and opportunities of this approach still have to be carefully evaluated

A Review of Virtual Health Networks: online communities that manage health information reducing environmental uncertainty

TREQUATTRINI, Raffaele;LARDO, Alessandra;DELLA ROSA, Sara;BOLICI, Francesco
2015

Abstract

Purpose – How information systems are enabling innovative models and processes for managing information in health domains? A possible answer is through virtual health communities (or patient-centered eHealth): digital social networks where people share their clinical history, health information and treatments results. The purpose of this paper is to provide a framework for understanding those virtual health communities, identifying their models and main characteristics. Design/methodology/approach – Our main objective is to identify and systematize the overlapping research area between online social network and health sector. In order to accomplish this aim we conduct a first exploratory literature review. Originality/value – Information and Communication Technology (ICT) deeply changed the way in which organizations manage (collect, store, analyse, transmit and use) information and data. ICT also enabled and triggered business models in which external actors contribute in the production of information and knowledge valuable for the company (eg. open innovation, FLOSS, citizen-science programs). Health sector, due to the peculiarity of its nature and the sensitiveness of the information processed, has been one of the latest ones to take advantage of this new opportunity. The newness of the phenomenon, as well as the growing number of people using virtual health networks (VHN), call for a work of systematization of the emerging models and factors. Practical implications – In VHNs, a consistent number of patients (considered external to organizations in the traditional management/innovation models) voluntarily disclose their health information to other patients. Thus, even presenting some accuracy and truthfulness issues, nevertheless this model of information sharing constitutes an incredibly rich source of data for researchers (and potentially for pharmaceutical industries and health organizations). VHNs could integrate or expand the traditional pharmaceutical clinical trials; in such case, innovation will not be managed only internally by a company, but will be opened to patients’ direct contribution. Risks and opportunities of this approach still have to be carefully evaluated
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11580/52520
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