Patient Innovation and Adoption, and the Role of the Content of Social Interactions



This paper is a multi-method study of factors that influence users to develop solutions or to adopt solutions developed by other users. In the qualitative part of the study, we explore the problem-solving process of individuals with health disorders. Interpreting 30 cases collected by interviewing 15 chronic disease patients, we explore how perceptions of a need for a solution, search behavior, trust in experts, and interactions with peers influence individual problem-solving process that may result in an innovation or adoption of a user-developed solution. In the quantitative part of the study, we test our findings from the qualitative study on two samples. One is a sample of 800 individuals with a clinically confirmed rheumatic disease, and the other is a random sample of about 6000 adult residents of Portugal. We measure health-related innovation and adoption activity by users, and analyze the factors that influence the actual adoption outcomes and intentions to adopt a user-developed solution. Our results confirm the existing findings on the importance of social interactions for the user innovation activity, but suggest that the content of these interactions may play an important role for the adoption of user-developed solutions. We discuss the importance of our findings from the innovation management literature, practitioners’, and public policy standpoints.