Purpose: The aim of this paper is to analyze and measure the effects of intellectual capital (IC), i.e. human capital (HC), relational capital (RC) and structural capital (SC), on healthcare industry organizational performance and understanding the role of data analytics and big data (BD) in healthcare value creation (Wang et al., 2018). Through the assessment of determined variables specific for each component of IC, the paper identifies the guidelines and suggests propositions for a more efficient response in terms of services provided to citizens and, specifically, patients, as well as predicting effective strategies to improve the care management efficiency in terms of cost reduction. Design/methodology/approach: The study has a twofold approach: in the first part, the authors operated a systematic review of the academic literature aiming to enquire the relationship between IC, big data analytics (BDA) and healthcare system, which were also the descriptors employed. In the second part, the authors built an econometric model analyzed through panel data analysis, studying the relationship between IC, namely human, relational and structural capital indicators, and the performance of healthcare system in terms of performance. The study has been conducted on a sample of 28 European countries, notwithstanding the belonging to specific international or supranational bodies, between 2011 and 2016. Findings: The paper proposes a data-driven model that presents new approach to IC assessment, extendable to other economic sectors beyond healthcare. It shows the existence of a positive impact (turning into a mathematical inverse relationship) of the human, relational and structural capital on the performance indicator, while the physical assets (i.e. the available beds in hospitals on total population) positively mediates the relationship, turning into a negative impact of non-IC related inputs on healthcare performance. The result is relevant in terms of managerial implications, enhancing the opportunity to highlight the crucial role of IC in the healthcare sector. Research limitations/implications: The relationship between IC indicators and performance could be employed in other sectors, disseminating new approaches in academic research. Through the establishment of a relationship between IC factors and performance, the authors implemented an approach in which healthcare organizations are active participants in their economic and social value creation. This challenges the views of knowledge sharing deeply held inside organizations by creating “new value” developed through a more collaborative and permeated approach in terms of knowledge spillovers. A limitation is given by a fragmented policymaking process which carries out different results in each country. Practical implications: The analysis provides interesting implications on multiple perspectives. The novelty of the study provides interesting implications for managers, practitioners and governmental bodies. A more efficient healthcare system could provide better results in terms of cost minimization and reduction of hospitalization period. Moreover, dissemination of new scientific knowledge and drivers of specialization enhances best practices sharing in the healthcare sector. On the other hand, an improvement in preventive medicine practices could help in reducing the overload of demand for curative treatments, on the perspective of sharply decreasing the avoidable deaths rate and improving societal standards. Originality/value: The authors provide a new holistic framework on the relationship between IC, BDA and organizational performance in healthcare organizations through a systematic review approach and an empirical panel analysis at a multinational level, which is quite a novelty regarding the healthcare. There is little research focussed on healthcare industries' organizational performance, and, specifically, most of the research on IC in healthcare delivered results in terms of theoretical contribution and qualitative analyzes. The authors even contributed to analyze the healthcare industry in the light of the possible existence of synergies and networks among countries.
Cristofaro C. L.
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