Hospitals on the Net?

April 1, 2007

A few years ago Porter wrote “Strategy and Internet”. The idea in practice was that “Internet powerfully influences industry structure and sustainable competitive advantage”. In the countries where the healthcare system is not “marked-oriented” the presence of the Hospital on the Net doesn’t matter. There is lack of interest. This is the first barrier.

Randeree and Rao have pointed out:

Hospital financing has been the primary focus of hospital management in the last decade. Rising costs and shrinking reimbursements have made ‘e-projects’ less of a priority, especially since services provided through the web are typically not revenue generators. The cycle of reimbursement cuts have forced hospitals to become reactive to short-term issues and spend less time on long-term initiatives that would change the processes within the hospital.

So even if the hospitals will be interested, the presence on Internet supposes money and the absence of benefits. Here we have a second clear barrier.

As far as the process of creation or reform of a Hospital website is related to the flows of information and communication within the organization. I think there is a stronger barrier related to the internal communication inside the Hospital.

If a Hospital decides to go on the Net, as well as thinking about why and what, it will have to face the challenge to manage the internal communication flows of information and communication. Those flows are strongly embeded in the structure and the culture features of the organization.