Who is part of the healthcare business ecosystem?

Florian Van Daele healthsystems, innovatie, MARKT Leave a Comment

This is part 2 of a number of short blogs about the healthcare business ecosystem. In blog 1 I explained what a business ecosystem is and what’s the origin of the term.

All stakeholders make up a business ecosystem

An ecosystem is a group of organizations and people sharing goals and activities. In healthcare it concerns all companies, regardless of their legal status, that are active in the field of health & care. So it collects all stakeholders. Within the ecosystem, organizations are the first analytic level, followed by a focus on important individuals.

There are no fixed or agreed classifications for players in a business ecosystem. However, some categories are widely used all over the world. We use them to identify six main categories of players in the healthcare ecosystem healthnode as well:

  • companies: supply goods and services within health & care
  • healthcare providers: the core of their existence is medical care and services
  • government: active in policy, administration and lobbying in the health & care sector. Including sector organizations and intermediary organizations
  • research and education: the core of their existence is research and education
  • investors: providing capital and funding for health entrepreneurship
  • patients and patient groups

Their combinations define the strength of the healthcare ecosystem

The strenght of the ecosystem is defined by the amount and type of interactions between care organizations, companies, investors, policy, patient groups and research and education. Fast, frequent and dynamic interactions are necessary to have strong healthcare ecosystems: driving changes within a global economy.

This is where ecosystems are different from ‘classical’ analyses. The latter map separate parts of an ecosystem and do so by using classical labels (so-called NACE-codes).  It makes the business ecosystem-analysis more suitable to spot new forms of entrepreneurship and technological innovations.

Sub-ecosystems within healthcare

It’s possible to identify sub-ecosystems within healthcare, based on specific activities or domains, for example a sub-ecosystem of medical technology. In order to have an impact, also sub-ecosystems will need to have the six main categories of players present and interacting with each other.

Within the healthnode digital ecosystem, we have labeled all stakeholders to a ‘sector’ (and sometimes also to a sub-sector), so you can see dynamic sub-ecoystems. And  you can analyse the subarea interacting with the entire healthcare ecosystem.

For example, Digital Health is a separate sector section and has these sub-sectors:

  • caretech: technology that supports the care process
  • healthtech: technology supporting general health and/or is mainly used by the end-user.
  • lifetech: technology supporting the development of lifesciences
  • medtech: medical technology; digital health supporting medical services; is mainly used by the medical professional

Other branches within the health ecosystem are: child and youth care, elderly care, pharma, insurance, ICT, etc.

Location and maturity of players

The health ecosystem can be more or less vibrant in a region or city, depending on the amount and specialisation of stakeholders. But also depending on the maturity of players: a good ecosystem needs a balanced mix of startup, scaleup and mature companies.

Ecosystem members have certain features; but they also take specific roles and positions into the dynamic of the ecosystem. That’s what blog 3 will be about.