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Defining Health Service Eco-System “Infection”: A Critical Analysis Of Patient Surveys

Maria V. Ciasullo, Orlando Troisi, Silvia Cosimato, Alex Douglas

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Purpose – This paper focuses on the analysis of the most common tools that health care organizations use to assess the quality of the delivered services, the patient surveys. In line with the results of a systematic literature review on the issue, the study embraces service ecosystem perspective to understand why these surveys are unable to grasp actors’ disposition to co-create value for the health care system. Methodology – An in-depth literature review based on PRISMA framework explored 34 works on the topic of patient surveys in order to trace the evolution of the relationship users/providers and to highlight the criticalities related to the adoption of patient surveys in service-oriented era. The study discusses critically their efficacy to understand how they can affect (positively or negatively) the viability of a health care service eco-system. Findings – The literature review highlights patient surveys inability in grasping the real perception that patients have of experienced services and in involving them in value co-creation, through their engagement in service design and delivery. Moreover, the results reveal the need to adopt Service Dominant (S-D) Logic and service eco-system perspective to reread the traditional tools to measure quality in healthcare. For this reason, the metaphor of health service eco-system “infection” is launched, depicting the negative influence of patient satisfaction surveys on value co-creation and the subsequent service eco-system viability. Practical implications – The study shows that assuming a service eco-system perspective based on S-D logic, health care system should boost and preserve value co-creation processes. Moreover, institutions should foster those “rules of the game” that institutionalize the contribution of health providers to value co-creation, defining specific strategies to avoid the “infections” of health care service eco-system, e.g. investing and promoting non-detrimental tools.Originality – This study represents one of the first attempts to reread the tools used to assess patient embracing a service eco-system perspective. Interesting implications have been presented in terms of the negative effect that traditional assessment tools have on providers, patients and the whole society.