Learning from Innovation in the Health Industry
Edited by Marco R. Di Tommaso and Stuart O. Schweitzer
Chapter 1: The Health Industry Model: New Roles for the Health Industry
Stuart O. Schweitzer and Marco R. Di Tommaso INTRODUCTION There is wide variation in technological development and innovative capabilities of industrialized countries. What explains these diﬀerences in the pace of innovation and dissemination of new scientiﬁc knowledge? What are the policy actions that might be undertaken if governments wanted to stimulate technological innovation? To what extent are these actions consistent with traditional health policy approaches? Can the health industry be used as a leading sector, stimulating other high-tech industries? In this chapter we suggest that answers to these complex questions can be suggested by seeing the health care sector from a new perspective. The health industry is one of the largest industries in any wealthy and industrialized economy, measured in terms of expenditures and employment. The industry’s size is not its only characteristic, however. Technologically the health industry is central to other high-tech or ‘new’ industries. Therefore government policies aﬀecting the health industry will have widespread eﬀects in other technologically sophisticated areas. This new perspective suggests a rethinking of the deﬁnition of the public policy tools and objectives to be applied in a sector which, over the past few decades, has been strongly inﬂuenced by two factors: budget constraints and technological progress. In these countries most health care demand is ﬁnanced by public resources. This characteristic has pushed policy makers to focus their attention on the opportunity costs of health spending and in this context health expenditures have been strongly limited by more general...
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