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Sustainable Innovations in Small Enterprises for the Transformation of the Primary Healthcare Sector

Maria Emilsson (), Ulf Ernstson (), Linn Gustavsson () and Ann Svensson ()
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Maria Emilsson: Department of Health Sciences, University West, 461 86 Trollhättan, Sweden
Ulf Ernstson: Department of Engineering Science, University West, 461 86 Trollhättan, Sweden
Linn Gustavsson: School of Business, Economics and IT, University West, 461 86 Trollhättan, Sweden
Ann Svensson: School of Business, Economics and IT, University West, 461 86 Trollhättan, Sweden

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 16, 1-19

Abstract: Small enterprises face multiple and complex challenges when developing digital technologies. The aim of this article is to explore the role of sustainable innovation in small enterprises in relation to the ongoing transformation of the primary healthcare sector. The purpose is to gain understanding of innovation processes within the framework of sustainable development, applied to a local primary healthcare center. Data were collected through seven semi-structured interviews. A qualitative thematic analysis was conducted. Five themes appeared in relation to the ongoing transformation of the primary healthcare sector: (1) The process of sustainable innovation in a long-term perspective; (2) the companies’ views on innovations in healthcare; (3) effects of innovations in healthcare; (4) sustainable product or service development, and (5) the role of collaboration in the innovation process. The companies expressed a positive attitude to new innovations, as a natural part of developing the companies. The article concludes that incremental development of tools in small businesses supports the transformation of processes and services in the primary healthcare sector. Cross-disciplinary teams in collaboration facilitates the necessary learning and the required creation and sharing of knowledge.

Keywords: healthcare; digital innovation; sustainability; small enterprises; incremental development; collaborative learning; knowledge integration (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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