Sharing user innovations
: characteristics of patient-developed solutions and online communication

  • Joana Roldão Gomes (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The challenges to healthcare systems are common worldwide. The need to identify new treatments and solutions that reduce the burden on society is top priority for all public policy makers. This study investigates the role of patients and caregivers as innovators. Drawing on Rogers’ diffusion of innovations theory, we aim to understand how well lead users in the medical field are communicating their inventions. Based on a sample of 248 submissions in a patient innovation platform, this study assesses the likelihood of innovation diffusion. Overall, our results show that patient innovations are not communicated effectively online. Nevertheless, the levels of radicalness and complexity positively impact on the quality of communication. Our findings are important as communication strongly influences diffusion and, consequently, adoption. Hence, educating users on how to better communicate their solutions on dedicated online communities is appointed as the key to boosting adoption by others, which in turn leads to increased social welfare. Further implications for theory and practice are discussed.
Date of Award2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorCláudia Isabel de Sousa Costa (Supervisor)


  • Lead users
  • User innovation
  • Patient innovation
  • Healthcare
  • Radicalness
  • Communication
  • Diffusion
  • Adoption


  • Mestrado em Gestão: Programa Internacional

Cite this