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South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences

On-line version ISSN 2222-3436
Print version ISSN 1015-8812


URBAN, Boris  and  STREAK, Milton. Product innovation of private health insurers in South Africa and the impact of entrepreneurial orientation. S. Afr. j. econ. manag. sci. [online]. 2013, vol.16, n.3, pp.298-315. ISSN 2222-3436.

Recognising that health insurer product innovation plays a critical role in aligning incentives among all stakeholders in the healthcare value chain, this study investigates the relationship between the level of health insurer product innovation and entrepreneurial orientation (EO). Taking cognisance of the importance of external collaboration between health insurers and healthcare service providers, the study is able to diagnose perceptions of strategic regulatory factors and their impact on levels of EO. The focus of the study is on the demand (financing) and supply (healthcare delivery) structures of the healthcare value chain, incorporating health insurers, health insurer administrators and healthcare service providers. A conceptual model is formulated on the basis of literature and tested using confirmatory factor analysis. The results indicate that EO at organisational level is a strong predictor of health insurer product innovation and that external collaboration between health insurers and healthcare service providers is a weak predictor of health insurer product innovation. Practical implications are that both the supply and demand side structures indicate that the restructuring of relationships between health insurers and healthcare service providers is a necessary driver for collaboration in terms of health insurer product innovation progress and success. Healthcare executives need to work with, and actively lobby regulators to ignite both demand and supply side innovation activities in the healthcare value chain of the private healthcare industry of South Africa.

Keywords : product innovation; regulation; external collaboration; entrepreneurial orientation; health insurers; corporate entrepreneurship; healthcare industry.

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