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The Internet and related communications technologies are seen as the most likely source of entrepreneurial solutions whereby a reduction in the costs of healthcare services might be achieved. This is because the Internet can provide the following benefits (Coile 2000):

  • 1. Establishing close, supportive relationships with patients.
  • 2. Becoming the preferred source of health information and service provision.
  • 3. Increasing patient convenience.
  • 4. Creating more effective ways to share knowledge and information.
  • 5. Creating new ways to deliver care.
  • 6. Reducing operating expenses by applying IT-based automation.

Traditional models of value creation are based on goods-dominant (G-D) logic, in which a firm’s output is the source of value creation. G-D logic is based on the push philosophy, viewing produced goods as the source of value for the consumer. It thus views producers and consumers as different entities with distinct roles in the value-creation process, with the producer playing the key roles which are conceptualised as activities performed by the firm (Vargo et al. 2008). Vargo and Lusch (2004, 2008) proposed an alternative view of a service-dominant (S-D) logic. In this model the roles of producers and consumers in the value-creation process are intertwined rather than distinct. The focus is on the requirements of the customers and how the offerings of service providers deliver ‘value-inuse’. Value is created jointly and reciprocally through mutual interactions and facilitating integration of resources between the producers and their customers. This new pull-based S-D logic has a user-centric perspective in which the producer and the consumer together create value by designing processes that mutually leverage available resources.

The Internet and advances in online communications technology have massive potential for supporting the provision of healthcare through activities such as transmitting data from a remote location for response by a healthcare professional based at a central location and by healthcare professionals offering treatment guidance to medical staff located elsewhere within a country. However developing countries often depend heavily on private profit-orientated entities for provision of healthcare services. This situation has attracted some medical entrepreneurs driven by a desire to serve the disadvantaged sections of the society by attempting to provide accessible and affordable services to the masses by innovatively designing economically sustainable business models (Mair et al. 2007). In both developed and developing nations, IT is one of the prime resources leveraged to enhance service delivery.

Vargo et al. opined that in relation to the G-D logic perspective, the resources that enable value creation are primarily owned by the producer, who utilises these resources to create value for the consumer. In contrast within the S-D logic perspective, value creation is a collaborative process, and the resources enabling value creation are owned by both the provider and the user service systems. In contrast to G-D logic, S-D logic can categorise resources (people, technology and information) that enable value creation in two ways. Srivastava and Shainesh (2015) posited that in addition to Internet communications technology (ICT) which is the key interactional resource in most healthcare value-creation systems there is a need to continually search for and orchestrate contextually available knowledge and institutional resources to deliver the desired value.

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